I’m assuming you’re here because you might disagree with the title you just read? Or maybe you’re saying, “FINALLY. Someone who is on my wavelength!” Either way, I’m glad you’re here.
I didn’t get to where I am in life by being overly positive. I’m not one of those people that believes you can think positively and have amazing things magically appear on your doorstep. If only it were that easy.
I live with chronic depression, and maybe you’re on this journey with me. If you also struggle, you know full well that thinking positively doesn’t magically cure a mental illness. Honestly, if that were the case, therapists, psychiatrists, and the whole mental health system would not exist. Because I can assure you that myself and many others would have been teaching the world how to cure depression through happy thoughts!
Not the case.
I will, however, say that our thoughts do have power. They haven’t necessarily cured my depressive episodes so maybe I’m a bit skeptical, but I believe our thoughts and emotions have an impact. I’m a little different in my thinking, however, because I’m not going to tell you to be more grateful or think happier thoughts. I’m here to tell you to sit in the difficult emotions.
We live in a society that is chronically uncomfortable with negative emotions. The world around us is preaching at us to strive for this inner peace and calm. We strive for zen. But maybe this constant striving is causing the pain to come out sideways.
If we start to acknowledge our emotions and pain, no matter how scary and negative they appear, we are freeing up space for the more positive emotions to come organically. Let the emotions ebb and flow. I had a therapist who had a coined phrase in her vocabulary– embrace the suck. Let’s be a part of the change, and allow ourselves to feel all emotions. They will appear no matter what, so I’d rather take them at face value than have them appearing in chronic pain or other difficulties, wouldn’t you?
Now I also know that sitting with painful emotions is not easy and won’t make anything better right away. What it will do is allow us to accept our current situation. We truly can’t move forward in life if we are in denial of our problems.
For myself, I have to wake up most days and accept that my depression still exists and that I get overwhelmingly sad each night. However, because I accept and allow my depression to exist, I’m giving all of my emotions room to exist. We can’t live in a positive bubble just as we can’t solely live with negativity. It’s a balance I’m trying to find, and I invite you to join in with me. Embrace the suck and allow all emotions to exist in your life. You might see change over time.