“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can.Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
As you’ve probably noticed, I have been feeling a lot more positive (and a lot less depressed) over the past few months. Part of this change was allowing myself to feel down for a while, but a large part of it is due to that quote above. I found it in the sample I downloaded from Jenny Blake’s book ‘Life After College’ (which I’m definitely going to be buying soon) and I can honestly say that it has changed my life.
This may sound dramatic but I don’t feel like I’m exaggerating in any way. Reading that quote gave me the permission I didn’t know I was seeking, to pull myself out of the slump. The thing with my depression (I can’t speak for anyone else’s) is that I end up in a downward spiral that I can’t find a way out of. It starts with having a bad day – I don’t feel up to doing anything so I let myself do nothing. I don’t think this is a bad thing, it’s what happens the next day that causes the problems.
So the next day I might be feeling okay, but I look back over the previous day and see how much time I wasted and how much I didn’t do, so I start feeling guilty. That guilt usually leads me to feeling very down and so, once again, I don’t do anything. As the days go on, this repeats itself but every day has extra guilt laid upon it and so down the spiral I go, until I can’t even see hope of getting out.
Just to be clear, guilt of not doing anything isn’t the only emotion that causes my depression, but I would say that it is a large part of it.
Anyway, when I read that quote, the first thing I did was grab a large post-it note, write it down, and stick it on the wall by my ‘desk’ (which is actually just a table where I use my laptop). I had allowed myself to get caught up in the past, and so had stopped myself from moving forward. The moment I read the words ‘Finish each day and be done with it’ a great weight was pulled off me and I started remembering how to start each day afresh; with hope and motivation leading me forward instead of guilt and despair pulling me downwards (backwards just doesn’t feel right here as we’re talking about time).
The quote reminded me that feeling guilty about not doing anything wasn’t going to make the past change, only make the present worse. And so I started believing in myself again. I still have bad days of course, and sometimes I let them take over, but when I read those words I know I won’t let one bad day ruin my life.
Has anything like a quote changed your life? Please share in the comments.