And granted, it’s no good to be down on yourself all the time and mourn over your losses of the past in an unceasing perpetual mental loop of a negative thinking mode.
But this idea that you have to be totally elated and joyful is a bit…unrealistic, to say the least.
It doesn’t matter how easy squeezy lemon squeezy life may get, fact of the matter is…
Life straight up sucks sometimes!
And to say you should wear a cheerful smile at your grandma’s funeral or jump for joy when you find out your best friend is in the hospital after being in a car accident is absolute garbage. It’s hog wash.
Look, you don’t have to be happy all the time.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for looking at the bright side of life (cue Monty Python), but there’s no denying that shit just sucks sometimes and it’s okay to get mad, upset, sad, or even angry at times.
That’s part of life. Going through the range of emotions.
There’s no sense being blissfully oblivious to the traumatic events in your life, just because you set yourself under the false notion that you MUST be happy at all times. Always.
Man, cry once in a while. Shout out in an angry rant on occasion. Live those emotions. Feel them.
Besides, forcing yourself to stay happy during some sort of crisis will only lead you to repress those negative emotions, and trust me, repressed emotions are a lot less tame than just plain old regular emotions.
When you hold back your emotions, when you let them bottle up inside, you’re only feeding the beast that’ll rampage in an uncontrollable emotional outburst later down the line.
You have to allow yourself to feel the emotions you are feeling in the moment and not try to hide them away behind some sort of smiley mask.
Your emotions are completely valid…and you have to believe that. You have to.
When life sucks, it sucks, and there’s no amount of “positive outlook” that can make the shit look pretty.
Now I don’t mean to sound like some sort of Debbie downer or whatever. I ain’t trying to look pessimistic, if it’s coming across that way.
I just want to point out that it’s OKAY not to feel fully and completely 100% happy during 100% of the time.
That said, I’d like to expand upon that. Because while it’s okay not to always be happy. It’s NOT okay to perpetually be UNhappy either.
Where the line is drawn is when you hold on to that negativity, when you continue to lament and worry about the bad things that happened to you in your life. Before we do a little talk about worrying though, I want to first clarify a few points about this whole “live your emotions and feel them” thing. Let’s get to it!
Reflect and Respond. Don’t React.
As I mentioned, your emotions are valid. But…and that’s a huge BUT…while your emotions are in fact valid, your emotions do NOT validate wrongful or hurtful actions.
While what you’re feeling is okay, that does not make it okay to hurt yourself or others.
It’s not okay to insult someone in anger. It’s not okay to flat out go around being a jerk or d-bag just because you’re in a shitty mood. No.
See, that’s all reaction. You’re reacting to your emotions. Your letting them control you by doing crazy things like yelling like a banshee.
Feeling your emotions is one thing, but letting them loose is another.
Although I did indeed state that you shouldn’t hold your emotions back, that doesn’t give you the right, that doesn’t justify unruly actions on your part.
Feeling unruly does not mean you act unruly. You got it?
Control your emotions, not by holding them back or pretending to wear a fake smile.
But control them by being consciously aware of them and being able to express how you feel in a calm and mature manner. It’s the lazy way.
There are a lot of Karens walking around nowadays that are really just toddlers in adult bodies, never having learned how to control their own emotions and instead making the entire rest of the world responsible for their emotions.
Now that we covered what to do in an emotional trauma “in the moment”, let’s take a look at the aftermath.
The aftermath of emotional trauma can in some ways be worse than the actual event itself.
Mourning over the loss of a loved one or regretting your mistakes in a relationship after a break up, that sort of thing, can be more painful than the initial death or break up was in the first place.
And that, my friend is why you have to realize…
Worrying multiplies any sort of stress or pain you may be experiencing tenfold!
The more you regret, the more you lament, the more you worry and ruminate over bad things in your life or mistakes you’ve made in the past, the more pain you’re going to feel.
It’s picking a scab and never letting it fully heal, essentially. What you’re doing is bringing the pain to surface and making it bleed again.
Look, bad shit happens. And you know what? Sometimes it is your fault. Sometimes you fuck up.
But just because you fuck up does NOT make YOU a fuck up!
Being honest with yourself in the moment and saying “you know what, this sucks”, or “you know what I fucked up.”
But holding on to that bitter feeling, letting it linger, letting it haunt you. Well that quite frankly is gonna wear you the fuck out.
That’s what leads to depression -- constantly feeding yourself negative emotion, putting yourself in the habit of metaphorically slitting your wrists and making yourself feel pain again.
The brain is a habit machine.And you can easily put it in the habit of thinking about negative thoughts if you’re not careful.
But it’s okay. You have control. You can choose to move on from the traumatic past slow n’ steady by focusing on things you appreciate more so than things you distaste.
You see, it’s not so much about staying positive, but about staying…stable. It’s about being okay.
It’s about recognizing that things aren’t always perfect, but being able to cope with shit when shit hits the fan. It’s about balance.
It’s a hassle to put yourself under the constant burden and stress of what used to be or what could be.
Repeatedly ruminating over and over again about how things “woulda, shoulda, coulda” -- that’s a lot of effort. It’s basically putting yourself through the trauma you initially experienced every single day. Why would you do that to yourself?
Man, I’m telling you as a fellow procrastin8r and friend, you can’t keep holding on to shit.
Flush shit down the toilet. Don’t let it sit in the bowl forever. Man, that stinks! And that’s unsanitary af.
It’s not healthy to keep shit in your life. Shit happens but you gotta flush it down and get rid of it.
But seriously, let bygones be bygones.
Certainly, grieve. Let yourself feel the pain. But don’t let that pain linger. Let the wound heal, dude.
That takes time. But it’ll happen….Eventually.
Learn to Let Go (and go with the flow)
Eventually is the key word that can help you cope with whatever shit you’re going through or went through.
Because you know what? Eventually things will get better. Eventually there will be a light at the end of the tunnel.
That’s not overly eager positive thinking. That’s just reality. There are ups and downs. Life is a roller coaster.
Where there are dips, there’s also great heights.
That person you thought you couldn’t live without? Look at you now! Livin n’ shit! Good for you.
That opportunity you let pass? Well, man think of all the opportunities you DID get for not taking it.
You see, dude. You can’t live life in the past. You have to let the past be where it belongs. And where does it belong?
Well, in the past of course!
Live for today. One day, one step, at a time.
Leave your worry behind and just keep moving. Slow n’ steady.