Give yourself grace, and control what you can

Some days I feel incredibly productive. Like I could conquer the world with the sentences on the pages. Other days I feel like a cat slamming its paws against a keyboard, hoping for something coherent to come out of the senseless slamming of the keys. The days I feel like the cat, I can imagine myself as a cartoon character just trying to get everything done by the end of the night.

Either way, I know that I’m not doing as bad as I think I’m doing. My brain just hates me. The pages still come out clean, there are no errors I could see, and we got everything done before the deadline. Sometimes earlier than the deadline, which makes everyone happy.

Anyone you ask will tell you that I have been notoriously hard on myself. Ever since childhood, I’ve imagined these insane scenarios where a friend hates me secretly or my writing isn’t as good as I think it is. There were times where I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror. I felt so ugly and unattractive.

Most of the time, these ideas have no basis in reality. My friends didn’t give me any cues and all my teachers and others would say I could go far with my writing. Plus, multiple people would tell me I don’t look like a dumpster fire even though I felt like it on the inside. I had no reason to fear the worst would happen.

It is so easy to get so wrapped up in self-loathing and to think that the people closest to you really have a deep, burning hatred for you. But we have to remember to give ourselves grace, especially in this day and age.

There’s no way around the fact that the world is a hard place to be in right now, with rising gas prices, inequality, and just straight up negativity floating around. Everywhere you look, something else is going wrong or another tragedy has struck.

It’s in these times that we need to take a deep breath, step back, pick up our favorite pastime, and just chill.

I’m slowly but surely learning that I can’t control everything as much as I would like to. There is so little I can control in my life and it drives me absolutely insane. I just want to grab onto certain people and make a situation go the way I want it to go. However, I know that’s not possible.

So, as my parents would say, I have to remember the only thing I can control is myself and my well-being. That means sleep, eating habits, cleanliness, budgeting, and social life. That’s pretty much it.

If I don’t like something with my body, then I could try to change it by eating better or getting more sleep. I can do that, and I have been making strides toward bettering my health. If I know I’m spending too much money, then I could cut back on the number of times I go out or spend money at thrift stores.

Of course, I know that in a moment of panic or self-doubt, saying these simple things don’t help a lot. When it feels like the world is crashing to the ground, it feels like it will never stop. I know. I’ve been there multiple times throughout the years.

That’s when I need to remember that my friends and family will have my back. I immediately call them up to talk about something that’s bothering me and even a simple “I know that feeling” can help me perk up.

If it’s late at night and I get that feeling, I look up grounding techniques or turn to one of my favorite books for ground techniques. The book is “You Will Get Through This Night” by Daniel Howell.

But I’m no therapist. If you need it, seek out the words of a professional who can help.

It’s a crazy world out there, which is what makes giving ourselves grace and space to feel what we’re feeling all the more important. Take care of yourself before you give anything else to another person. It’s important that you stay healthy and cared for so you can live your life to the fullest.

Alyssa Ochss is the page designer at The Alpena News. She graduated from Oakland University and loves pop culture and all things nerd. You can reach her at aochss@thealpenanews.com.


If you are experiencing a mental health struggle, call or text the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988, 24 hours a day.


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