“Life isn’t all about sunshine and happiness, you know,” said my boyfriend recently on a particularly rough day. He was in the midst of a difficult life circumstance and I was trying to cheer him up.
It’s not? I thought to myself, then what the hell is it all about? In my darkest days decades ago when I was battling depression, I yearned for sunshine and happiness. The fact that I wasn’t happy made me feel worse, and the worse I felt, the further away from happiness I became. It was a never ending cycle. You feel bad, then you feel bad that you feel bad, then you feel even more bad because you feel bad that you feel bad… and on and on. Acceptance of the depression, finally admitting it and allowing myself to experience it instead of fighting it, was the impetus that set me on the path out of it.
Now, happiness is just there. I don’t yearn for it, I don’t think about it, it just exists, inside me, following me around like a loyal puppy. I can’t help but be happy. And I forget sometimes that there are more important things than being happy.
Sometimes being in your shitty mood and allowing yourself to feel shitty is more important.
Why? Because it’s more important to accept and embrace how you feel in the moment than it is to try to be something you’re not in that moment.
If you feel like crap, allow yourself to feel it. You’ll feel worse when you try to force yourself into positive thoughts without really believing it. You’ll end up feeling like a fraud, a failure and will only bring about more frustration. Emotions are simply energy. When you block the flow of the energy by fighting, denying or hiding it, it becomes stronger and stays longer. Simply allow the energy to flow. Let your emotions flow. Don’t pressure yourself into having to feel happy all the time, especially when you don’t feel it.
Go ahead, have a tantrum. Sometimes it takes a quick 10 second outburst of anger before you can feel better again. Had you not honored yourself enough to release it, it would linger, gain power and remain with you much longer than necessary, often months and years. My boyfriend was absolutely right: Life is not all about sunshine and happiness. Sometimes it’s cloudy, and sometimes your dad dies and you’re sad. Yes, even if you know he’s still with you in spirit, you cry.
This life, this human existence, is all relative to everything else. Hot, cold, good, bad, up, down, push, pull. None of it would exist without the other. We live in a world of opposites, of contrast. When you accept the contrast, you accept life. You face it head on. You look at the clouds and you say, “I know there’s a sun behind there somewhere, even though I can’t see it. But right now, there are clouds, and that’s okay.” You don’t look away and deny the existence of the clouds, you let it be as it is. In the same way that you don’t fight the clouds and you trust that it won’t be cloudy forever, you don’t fight your emotions and you trust that you won’t feel like crap forever.
The fact that you are experiencing any emotion means that you’re alive, and no matter how bad you feel, even a shitty day is a good day when you’re not dead.