When I decided that I was going to focus on the positive side of life, I mistakenly thought that meant that everything was going to be good. I was wrong. Bad things still happened to me and in my life. The only thing that changed was that I wasn’t allowing myself to experience my negative feelings. I was trying with everything in me to only focus on the positive, even when I was in the midst of something that really sucked.
Now, I realize that was a mistake. With all the talk about being positive, it’s easy to think that means that you can’t feel negative feelings anymore. The truth is that your negative feelings are as much apart of your experience as your positive feelings are. If you deny them, you deny a part of yourself. It’s almost as bad as not seeing the positive in life. When we stuff our feelings down or try to avoid, it leads to depression, addiction and other forms of acting out. While it’s not good to wallow in negative feelings, it is important to acknowledge them.
What I realized it that there is one person in your life that is always looking for your acceptance. That person is you. When you deny any part of yourself, you are not accepting who you are in that present moment. If you feel sad and pretend to be happy, you are denying yourself emotional support in that moment. You are telling yourself that what you feel is wrong. In turn, you are still creating suffering.
Life is a series of moments. Some are great and some really suck. You have to allow yourself to feel whatever you feel in that moment. If something bad is happening, sit with that feeling. The pain can seem scary, but if you allow it, you may find that it doesn’t last as long as you think. Instead of labeling it bad or negative, you should understand that it is apart of you and you may have to walk through it to get to the real emotion underneath.
Everything that happens to us is a fabric in a larger picture that we can’t see. It can be frustrating to not understand why things don’t come together the way we expect. In the moment when you are watching things fall apart, your initial reaction is authentic to you. Feel it. Grieve it, but don’t stay there. The mistake people make is to move in with these feelings and spend years of their life wasted mourning one thing that happened to them. Visit negative feelings, but don’t live there.
When you are done acknowledging that negative feeling or emotion, shift your focus and find the positive answer that helps you move past it. Emotions are your friend. You have accept them. Denial only keeps you stuck while acceptance propels you forward. There are going to be days when life sucks. It is inevitable that we will face things that are hard. But, it’s how you face them and get past them that makes you who you are.
“To regret one’s own experiences is to arrest one’s own development. To deny one’s own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one’s own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul.” ― Oscar Wilde