I recently saw an interview with the brilliant actor Andrew Scott where he described looking at his emotions like the weather. He’ll wake up in the morning, check in with himself and ask, “What’s my weather like today?”
He goes on to explain that what’s great about this analogy is that if he’s feeling “under the weather,” he knows that like the real weather outside, it will change. Rain will give way to sunshine, clouds pass through overhead, and snow eventually melts to reveal spring flowers growing once again.
I love this.
He also considers the absurdity of someone standing under a torrential downpour, shaking their fist at the sky and yelling, “Just stop raining!” That doesn’t do any good, nor does that help when we’re in a “rainy place” emotionally or can’t find warmth in the midst of a mental snowstorm. His advice is to accept what emotions we’re dealing with today and know that they will pass.
I completely agree that this is an ingenious way to handle difficult emotional states. But I would add something to this concept. I would add that while we’re in those times, we should do everything to we can to “weather those storms” as powerfully as possible. For example, if you look outside when you wake up and it’s raining, what can you do when you have to go and wait at the bus stop?
You can bring an umbrella.
What can you do if you have to be outside when it’s windy and cold and snowy?
You can wear a warm parka and a hat and stick charcoal warmers into your gloves and boots.
We may not have control over the weather but we do have some control of how we handle it.
I remember sitting outside at one of my son’s early morning baseball games and it was drizzling and chilly and physically it was really a miserable time. All of the people around me kept complaining about the weather, how crummy they were feeling, and how very put out they felt at having to be there. I kept thinking to myself, “How is this helping? Is all of your moaning and groaning making the sun come out?” As I’ve said before, all complaining does is make you feel worse and in this case, it also tends to annoy the people around you.
I also love thinking about our emotions as the weather because it allows us to separate our non-permanent mental states from the foundation of who we are. Just because we are feeling blue one day does not make us an overall pessimistic person. Just because we get angry about something in a fleeting moment does not mean that we are bitter, vengeful people in general. As human beings we all experience difficult moods from time to time, just as we experience difficult weather. Both can begin out of our control, but both can also be mitigated to the best of our ability, to keep us on our track of choosing happiness every day.
Never forget….”The sun’ll come out, tomorrow.” - Martin Charnin, Annie