1.16.14 – Embrace Negativity

The title of this entry sounds weird and contrary to everything we’ve ever been told.

Embrace negativity? What? That’s completely backwards from how we are told to live our lives. Nearly every philosophy and every religion will tell you that negativity is bad.

Here’s what that line of thinking does to you:

It shames you for being human.

It fosters the cycle of depression by convincing you that feeling sad is a shameful act.

Feeling sad is normal and even healthy. We shouldn’t shun our emotions. We shouldn’t wallow in them either, but engaging them for a short time, like I did yesterday with my very short blog post, is okay.  I didn’t spend all of yesterday wallowing. I did curl up early with a glass or two of wine and watch some tv and I decompressed.

I gave myself permission to feel sad and then I moved through it.

We need to give ourselves permission to experience pain. 

The sooner we experience it, the sooner we can move through it.

I confess it's easier to cope with sadness when you have a dog.

I confess it’s easier to cope with sadness when you have a dog.

When we hide it and shame ourselves for feeling sadness we’re actually clinging to the pain. By not acknowledging it we are allowing it to fester and grow – like mold in our souls.

Acknowledging our emotions is part of acknowledging who we are as individuals and as humans. We should  never shame ourselves for being affected by our world. It is the shame factor that most often makes those emotions worse.It is productive to embrace negativity. Once you allow yourself to experience your anger or your sadness then you can let it go. You can engage those feelings, see them for what they are and then move past them.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you still won’t feel negativity. There is still a shadow over today for what I experienced yesterday (yes, I’m being vague, sorry.) but because I allowed myself to explore that sorrow, the shadow isn’t really encroaching on my day. It’s more of a memory, really.

So the next time you feel a negative emotion, give yourself permission to engage it. You might not be able to experience it in the moment, but maybe you can explore that negativity later on during the day. Just remember that it’s okay to feel the full range of emotions, from positive to negative.

*I understand that this doesn’t work for everyone and it doesn’t work for every situation, but in my experience, it’s extremely  helpful in coping with negativity. 

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