We don’t have to feel happy ALL the time!
The hype these days is to be happy; the message we are getting from the self-help “industry”, media, our social media feed, books, podcasts (you name it) is constantly telling us to focus on the positive, declare your affirmations and declarations every day out loud, smile, focus on the positive, turn the frown upside down, keep calm and carry on….and everything will be fine.
Heck, I even write about them, and I am a huge advocate of being happy and focusing on the positive!
Yet, we are missing a huge step in our pursuit of happiness.
In today’s happiness and positive obsessed culture, we want to achieve happiness at no cost. We want to be happy without any pain, without taking risks, without giving up anything. Ironically, the unwillingness to face unpleasant feelings is what is adding to our despair.
This may sound like a contradiction, but being happy doesn’t mean that we don’t feel sad at times. The pressure of being happy is causing you to be unhappy!
The notion of being happy ALL the time is putting a burden on all of us. Therefore, the pressure of being happy is causing us to feel more stressed and inadequate.
You see, if we are told to live a happy life, don’t stress over the small stuff, let go and live a little; then, when any negative emotion comes up,
we feel that we “Failed” at living a positive and happy life. We begin to struggle against the negative feelings and soon find ourselves in a downward spiral of self-blame, discouragement, avoidance, denial, and despair whenever a bad mood strikes.
The biggest misconception about living a positive life is to believe that to be our most authentic and most beautiful selves, we always have to be happy, elated, content, and sure of ourselves.
There is a vast difference between having a positive mindset and to have a positive and happy life. Having a happy and positive life comes from having a positive mindset. Yet, having a positive mindset does NOT mean that we are free from any negative emotions or challenges.
We are human; we feel emotions, positive and negative. We may feel “Not at our best” one day; we get grumpy and irritable, and that’s OK!
Because, It is just as normal to feel scared, sad, and to want to curl up in bed as it is normal to feel peaceful, excited, or happy.
What is not OK is trying to hide, suppress, or avoid the negative emotions, or force them to be something they are not.
If you genuinely want to experience living a happy and positive life, you need to be able to identify and process negative emotions.
Emotions, positive or negative, are just energies moving through our bodies.
All E-Motions are useful and sometimes necessary to push us to be better versions of ourselves. Emotions are like our internal GPS; they are communicating with us and re-routing us in a new direction.
Only hold emotions and unprocessed emotions can hurt us.
So, how do you process the negative emotions?
Let’s say you are feeling sad.
- Sit with the emotion, where do you feel it in your body?
- Accept the sadness; there is no escaping the emotion, no matter how much you try to push it off to the side, or bury it deep within you, the sadness needs to be accepted as your reality right here, right now.
- Be thankful for it, gratitude directs us to the light at the end of the tunnel in our darkest times.
- Listen to the sadness, what is it telling you?
- Love your sadness, like a little child that needs reassurance, comfort the sadness.
- Ask the sadness, what is my learning? What am I supposed to learn from this experience?
- Take responsibility for your sadness; ask yourself, how was I at cause for this sadness? How did my actions or inactions contribute to this sadness? (this, of course, needs to be done from a place of NO blame and NO judgment)
- How can I grow from having this sad experience?
By facing the sadness (or any other negative emotions) and allowing it to be present within you, you will enable it to dissipate much faster. Read more on healing your emotional wound
To live a happy and positive life, we need to accept all of our emotions equally. Without tears, the joy of laughter won’t be as meaningful.
Be gentle to yourself. One of the most important skills in life is not how to avoid getting knocked down, but instead learning how to stand up, and rise back up.