Beware the Lows

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When my brother finished his first ultra-marathon this is what I said to him. And after the book launch on Thursday he returned the favour. Be ready for the low. It comes whether you like it or not.

We’re talking about the natural low that comes after an uncommon high. You’ve experienced this yourself before. The low after a holiday, or running a marathon, or even the Christmas break. It comes after something good and different, because we know that our lives aren’t usually like this, and the return to baseline means our emotions have to come down, too.

There is nothing wrong with this return to normality. It has to happen. But if we are unaware of the emotional effect of this, we might find ourselves in a depressive spell without understanding why. We may even begin to beat ourselves up for feeling low after something good has happened. Now we’re feeling low and we’re also feeling guilty about that low. Not a good combination.

The highs dictate the lows. Part of experiencing good emotions is the understanding that you too must experience the negative ones.

I’ve often described negative emotion as down payments for positive ones. And by this I mean that you cannot have one without the other. I don’t think a person can be happy if the only emotion they experience is happiness. Where is the point of reference? How can you truly understand what something is without also understanding what it is not?

And this why myself and my brother warn each other, when appropriate and necessary, to beware the lows that follow extraordinary days. It is not so that we might run from the lows and hide, but rather that we prepare for their arrival. So that we might handle the lows better when they inevitably descend.

Beware the lows. Beware the lows.

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