I’m sure you’ve seen those t-shirts that say “Positive Vibes Only”. Our news feed is clogged with articles on how to be more positive or people telling us “just be happy!”. Society acts like it’s a crime to be upset, sad, mad, depressed, or distraught in any way. We put on fake smiles and fight the pain. “Fake it till you make it!” But inside we are screaming and we are finding any way we can to distract us from how we really feel.
Once we reject the idea that we have to be happy and positive all the time, we can start allowing ourselves to feel all the emotions. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Your feelings of sadness, depression, anger, or whatever negative emotion you’re having is valid and real. It might not be real to everyone else, but it’s real to you and that is your reality. Hopefully you have people in your life that validate your feelings and make you feel seen.
The next action step is to stop fighting those feelings. The more we fight those feelings and try to stop them, the worse they become until they get so bottled up, they explode. Let the hard times come and accept that it is part of life. Once you understand that life is going to have hard moments and you’re not going to feel great 100% of the time, there is so much less pressure. You don’t feel the pressure to be on all the time and have it all figured out. Everyone goes through tough times and feels depressed at times. It’s totally normal and okay.
Allow yourself to feel the negative and dig deep into why you are feeling that way. What is causing those negative feelings? Is it something you can change and control? If it is, take the steps to change it. If it’s out of your control, what can we do to change our mindset towards it? We don’t have to love every part of the journey, but you have to learn to accept it and be okay with it. We also have to learn how to deal with our negative feelings in healthy ways.
Right now, I’m going through a tough time and a bit of a setback because of the injury to my knee. I’ve sprained my knee which is keeping me from being able to exercise and train the way I need to. This is something out of my control and I was pretty upset about it at first. I didn’t fight the feelings of disappointment and sadness. I welcomed them, I felt them, and I sorted through why I was feeling that way. I let myself feel that for a day or two and vented to people who I know would listen and understand. Then I looked at the positives that can come from the situation and to exercise the parts of my body that I still can.
There are a few benefits to having this injury. First, the rest of my body gets to heal a little bit. I’ve been beating myself up for several years now without any significant kind of rest, so this will give my body a little break from being kicked, punched, and choked. Also, I’ve been wanting to spend more time on my music and art and this allows me to do that. The other positive is that I work a lot with clients that have knee injuries or knee pain and this will give me more first hand experience with healing a knee injury and strengthening it. I’ll be back to training in a month or so and I’ll be back to my old ways, so I’m going to take the time off and use it wisely.
I don’t have to be happy that my knee is messed up, but I can still find good things to come out of a negative situation. Every hard time I have been through in my life has taught me important lessons and has helped me grow. The negative parts of life will only help you grow as human being and make you stronger.
We don’t have to act like we are happy all the time or always be positive. Realize that it’s okay to not be okay. Once we accept that, we don’t feel the need to distract ourselves from those feelings or cover them up. We won’t feel the need to over-eat or use drugs or get super drunk. We can sit with our emotions and allow ourselves to really feel them and know that it’s okay. Welcome the storms that come into your life. Stop fighting it.