Social media and self-help books often give the unrealistic impression that we should be “positive” , “striving” and “excited for life” all of the time. No surprises that this pressure of constant positivity can sometimes leave people feeling like a failure and disconnected from the self-help industry.
If you are currently not coping, if life feels hard and overwhelming, if you’re unwell or unhappy, lost or over your head. If you are feeling down in the dumps and like your situation is hopeless. Can I remind you of something?
You are human. You are not a robot.
What does this mean? This means you are free to experience the full range of human emotions. Regret. Remorse. Sadness. Self-pity. Anger. Excitement. Love. Joy. Appreciation. The whole gamut.
We don’t have to pretend to be strong or prove to others that everything is going well when it isn’t- in fact it’s unhealthy to do so. Studies have shown that projecting to others that we are “just fine” when what we’re really feeling is completely the opposite actually makes us feel worse. And worse for longer.
“You can’t always be upbeat, optimistic and happy but you can wear yourself down trying to be”
No one is positive all the time and somedays it can be harder to “look on the bright side” than others. That’s okay. That’s normal. It’s true for all of us. Including some of the best like Oprah!
Rather than suppress negative emotions and pretend they are not there what can we do to make ourselves start to feel more positive and optimistic at the very least?
Embrace and Empathise
Ask yourself if a friend came to you in this situation, feeling the same way that you do today, what would you say to her? Would you cut her off mid-sentence with a throwaway “you’ll be fine” kind of line? Or would you listen? Most of us (hopefully), would allow our friend to do that because we are beautiful, empathetic human beings.
I’m not encouraging you to spend day after day feeling and wallowing in these negative feelings. But if you are feeling sad or hurt then allow yourself to admit those feelings to yourself and others with the intent of soon being able to move on from them to something more positive. Nothing lasts forever including negative emotions. Show yourself the same empathy you would others.
Act On It
Sometimes we feel the way we do because we’re refusing to act on or follow how we feel and we rationalise them away until the next time they surface. Procrastinating over what we know we need to do or examine is a good way to keep ourselves in a negative thinking loop. A loop where we feel good for a time, before we find ourselves back there again on the wrong end of the loop feeling not so good again. Sometimes a little action, a forward step, however small in the right direction, is all that is needed to shake ourselves out of whatever scenario is not going away.
Do What You Know Works
On our worst days, at our lowest moments all of us can be a little self-destructive. We all have our kick the bucket kind of moments. Eating emotionally or forgetting to eat. Wine o’clocking our days earlier and earlier. Staying up late and watching crappy TV. Not sleeping well or struggling to get out of bed.
We are all allowed these moments for a little while but it’s important we don’t get stuck here too long. We have a fun-filled, exciting, amazing life to live before us. Right? Eventually, we need to start doing those things that we know make us feel good, even if we’re not feeling it. Our self-loving things. Beach walks, eating well, going to the movies with friends, meditation, a girly lunch, exercise, gratitude journaling, a dinner date. Whatever is on your self-love list, start doing more and more of those things. Even if you’re not completely feeling it in the moment, in time you will again.
We can’t be a Unicorn every moment of every day and part of life is being able to embrace the bad, the hard the tricky as well as we do the good. Curse the world (or the individual) if you need to. Let your emotions take you on their natural and usual course of hurt, anger, disappointment before moving on and doing what makes you smile again. The more you let this natural pattern happen the quicker it will unfold on its own. Don’t fight it or deny it but don’t allow yourself to stay too stuck there either.
Get out there. Move on bigger, brighter and better for it all.
You can find my books and programs that were created to help lift you out of a funk here.
Image Source. To the unknown person who created this fuck-u-unicorn. Thank you. It is brilliant. If this is yours I will happily credit your name to this image.