At the beginning of this year, I started using an app called Moodnotes to start logging my emotions on a regular basis. The result after two weeks of use surprised me: I’m a pretty positive and happy person.
Isn’t that such a weird thing to be a surprised about? To have an epiphany that, oh, all this while, I’m actually doing pretty great. I always knew that negative experiences tend to stick to me much more, but until seeing that data reflected back to me, I didn’t realize just how much it was skewing my perception of myself.
So now when I’m feeling a negative perception of myself, I try to see how I can first try to validate it. Like if I look back on my past couple days and feel like I wasn’t productive enough or haven’t done enough, I take the time to stop and go through my scrap paper, my notes, my journal, my internet browser history, my commits, and try to recreate my day and recall what I did. Is it actually true I didn’t do anything? And if it isn’t, what is causing the perception?
For me, I’ve realized that my negative perception about not being productive enough isn’t actually true usually. Usually, even if I have been productive and have been debugging valiantly through a struggle bus of a problem, unless I can present a final impressive victorious result to someone else, it doesn’t feel like it’s been productive enough. What a slippery slope of scarcity to be on, the fear of being “not productive enough”.
Maybe instead of feeling negative about it, the question is instead, how can I connect with someone else, even if my work is still in progress? In any case, by actually looking at the metrics instead of relying on negative emotions to inform my perceptions, hopefully I’ll uncover more positive ways to reframe my experiences.