Ever since the dawn of time, people have experienced moments of despair, disappointment, frustration and sadness.
Take a look at the famous Psalms of the Bible. Or the ancient book of Ecclesiastes. Honest, real tribulation and lament.
But do you ever get the guilts for feeling down? Do you feel as though we should be happy and positive all of the time?
I’m with you. What is that all about, anyway?
I think we do ourselves a huge injustice by not allowing ourselves to feel really, really low from time to time.
When my marriage ended, naturally, I was shattered.
I was put on anti-depressants and I didn’t cry for a whole year. I plonked my children in front of the DVD player and slept for twelve months. I put on far too much weight. Does that seem normal?
Anti-depressants have their place, but I will maintain that I was not depressed. I was exhausted. I was, well, done. What I needed more than a numbing of my brain and emotions was the chance to grieve. To let it work through my system and be processed by my body, mind and spirit.
To feel low.
If we believe we always have to feel happy, is it any wonder we feel guilt when we struggle when things don’t work out or when we experience rejection, grief, pain or stress?
I believe It really is okay to feel those things.
I got off the anti-d’s after that year, and I cried a lot from then on. But it felt so good to cry. It felt real, it felt human.
There is beauty in vulnerability, frailty and the grittiness of being human.
I’ve noticed that I never spend weeks in despair—I’m far too busy for that. Instead, I am learning to help myself move through the difficult emotional times by practicing acceptance.
We need to make room in life for the grittiness. We need to be kind to ourselves and our frail little hearts.
Since leaving the anti-d’s behind I have been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue—a far better explanation and a darn good reason why I don’t need to numb myself at all, I need to care for myself in every way, instead.
I struggle and I feel low from time to time, and I’ve found a strategy that helps me mentally when I am overcome with low emotions. Here is my little secret, which doesn’t prevent the heartaches when they come, but it does help in working through them:
I tell myself it’s all okay.
Now, that sounds pretty basic and lame, doesn’t it? Let me explain.
I was riding along in my car, taking my kids to the bus stop one morning and physically shaking from the stress I was experiencing. My mind felt like it would burst with the pressure my thoughts were inflicting on me (mostly with desperate longing for my life to change somehow), and the long list of things I had to accomplish before sunset. I brought to mind my new resolution of self acceptance, and instead of repeating “calm down, calm down, calm down” in my head (which really only made me feel worse, because I couldn’t calm down), I told myself this:
“It’s okay to feel overwhelmed. It’s okay to want to change your life.”
Would you believe that my hands stopped shaking?
I kept repeating that statement and my heart and mind stilled. I kept repeating that phrase throughout the day, and the biggest load just fell off my shoulders.
I did nothing more than accept my humanness and allow myself to want to change. I removed all judgement of myself and my thoughts and just let myself be me with whatever thoughts I had.
It was so liberating.
I still long to change my life somehow. To bring new things in and let old things go. I still experience low days—like today—but I choose to be kind to myself. I choose to allow myself to feel low, and let my mind and body work through it all. I choose to cry if I need to.
I tell myself “It’s okay” most of the time, and sometimes I forget, but that’s okay, too.
Once I have accepted where I am at, I can focus my mind to new, happy, positive thoughts so much more clearly. But I have to begin by accepting myself, my thoughts and feelings before the new positive thoughts can take effect.
Maybe it’s just me who needs this, and maybe not. But I want you to know that wherever you are at today, whatever you are struggling with yourself, it’s okay to feel the way you do.
It is human to feel the way you do.
And it is perfectly okay to wish your life was different from what it is.
In the perfectly succinct words of Eckhart Tolle, “If you can accept that you feel unhappy, you wont stay unhappy for long.”
Author: Kesenya Moore
Editor: Alli Sarazen
Photo: Jenna Carver/Flickr