I recently found myself experiencing more “bad” days than “good” ones, a natural response to certain circumstances in my life. As a bonafide optimist, with a motto like “No bad days” lingering in my mind, I had to remind myself that tough days are normal, expected even, especially given the seasons we might be swimming through. Those days (or seasons) are like a barometer, telling us that we’re feeling low for a reason—a flare from life that can feed us much needed insight and wisdom.
We experience so much resistance to negative feelings - depression, anxiety, anger, grief, sadness, apathy - and do anything to avoid the undesirable states of being. But what if those states are not just needed but called for? We can’t expect life to feel good all the time; as humans we aren’t meant to feel joy and happiness all the time. Polarity is a part of life that helps us appreciate the good when it does bless us with its presence.
Resistance to the negative feelings keeps us from ever feeling them thoroughly so we can move through them. We can’t get past them until we go through them. We can’t go around; we have to go through—through the pain and sadness and lulls in energy. Going around will only extend the shelf life of our negative feelings.
We need to get accustomed with feeling the entire range of human emotions. Those emotions come for a purpose; they are here to teach us something. If we don’t look at what’s up, what’s up will begin to own us rather than bless us. When we become brave enough to embrace the negative feelings, feel them and gain wisdom from them, they become something that helps us get to experience more days of joy, happiness, and bliss.
Expecting life to always feel good - and going to great lengths to make us feel good more often through false means and temporary fixes - will program our mind to seek highs and avoid lows. Whatever those highs come from - tv, shopping, people-pleasing, food, sex or drugs - teach us to become addicted to feeling pleasure. When we seek out pleasure to avoid pain, we get caught in a vicious cycle whereby we run away from what we don’t want to feel and end up having to feel more of it for a longer period of time (because we haven’t faced it, felt it, released it and eventually learned from it).
There are reasons why we should feel heavy things—we are built to have emotional responses based on our current landscape. Life is full of suffering but it is also full of joy. Don’t be afraid to face the difficult facets of life so that you can feel the lightness of being with greater appreciation for what it is to feel joy and happiness. And know that however bleak life may seem, we can choose to be at peace with exactly what is—even if what is is terribly uncomfortable.
For more insight on befriending your feelings, read on.