When I am in a good mood, life looks great. In good moods, things do not feel that hard, problems seem less formidable and easier to solve. In my good mood, communication is easy and even if I am criticized I take it in good stride.
However, when I am in a bad mood, life looks unbearably miserable. I take things personally and misinterpret those around me – imputing malignant motives into their actions. My bad mood tricks me into believing my life is far worse than it really is.
Moods can be extremely deceptive. Moods area always on the run. Without realizing this I sometimes think that life has suddenly become worse in the last day; even in the last hour. So someone who is in a good mood in the morning might love spouse, job, etc., is optimistic about the future and feels great about the past; however, by late afternoon when the mood becomes bad, he claims to hate the job, thinks spouse is a nuisance and believes he is going nowhere in his career.Â When asked about his childhood, he probably describes it as very difficult and blames his parents for his current plight.
Such quick and drastic contrasts do seem absurd, as well as funny; but we are like that. In low moods, we loose our perspective and everything seems urgent. We completely forget that when we are in a good mood, everything seems so much better. The truth is that life is almost never as bad as it seems when I am in a low mood. Rather than staying stuck in a low and bad temper, I must convince myself, â€˜I am feeling defensive, angry, frustrated, depressed and I am in a bad mood. I always feel negative when I am low.â€™
When I am in an ill mood, I have learnt to pass it off as simply that I am in â€˜an unavoidable human condition that will pass with time if I leave it alone.â€™Â A low mood is not the time to analyze my life. If I have a legitimate problem, it will still be there when my state of mind improves. The trick appears to be graceful in the low moods, and grateful for the good moodsâ€¦.not taking them too seriously.
As usual Bal Thanedar speaks for every man when he describes our mutual bipolar condition, which for most of us, thankfully, does not approach mental illness! However, it can be debilitating and confusing for we are all susceptible to mood swings, when the very same condition that appeared black and impenetrable to us suddenly clears away like morning fog, vaporized by the brilliant rays of the sun.
What we need to do lies in the last sentence. We need to gain equanimity, to equalize these moods, so we neither give credence to the blackness nor to the euphoria. We must strive to embrace these ups and downs as all equally part of lifeâ€™s incredible diversity and accept them as part of a dualistic world in which opposites will persist until we can grasp the unity of the divine plan. Then, and only then, will we be in the frame of mind to rejoice at adversity like the Prophet Habakkuk in the Hebrew Bible, which contains some of the finest poetry ever written. His verses flow into our hearts:
Though the orchards yield no food, and the olive crop fails.
Though the fold is bereft of flocks, and the stalls have no cattle.
Yet I will exult in the Lord; I will rejoice in my God.
He makes my feet as swift as the deerâ€™s; sets me riding the heights.