Are you someone who is going through a challenging time but is acting like everything is ok when really it isn’t? Or has life caught up with you and slapped you down a little more than you would like right now?
Social media quotes and self-help books often give the unrealistic impression that we should be “happy” , “striving” and “excited for life” all of the time. No surprises that this pressure of “constant positivity” can sometimes leave people feeling even more like they are failing for feeling negative emotions and moods in their lives.
Can I reassure you. If you are not coping. Are currently feeling overwhelmed. Unhappy. Stressed out. Unsure and lost. If you are feeling down in the dumps and like your situation is hopeless. There is honestly no shame or failure in any of it.
You are human. You are not a robot and even if you were, you would still need to stop for maintenance sometimes. This means you are allowed to experience the full range of human emotions because…..you are human!
“You can’t always be upbeat, optimistic and happy but you can wear yourself down trying to be” – Alexander Kjerulf
The simple fact that you are aware of your emotions and know they’re not positive or helpful tells me that you are able to turn things around. It’s totally okay to fall apart for a little while, to feel stuck or wonder where to next. You are allowed to have a bad day. We all have them. Sometimes life throws us expected and unexpected curveballs.
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 we actually feel worse when we believe that we should feel happy and project to others that we are “just fine” when what we’re really feeling is sad, stressed or lost.
No one is positive all the time and somedays it can be harder to “look on the bright side” than others. That’s okay.
Rather than suppress negative emotions and pretend they are not there what else can we do to make ourselves feel more positive and optimistic?
Embrace and Empathisise
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- stress less” or would you listen and let her share her true feelings? 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 those feelings to something more positive. Show yourself the same empathy you would others.
Do What You Know Works
On our worst days, at our lowest moments all of us can be a little self-destructive. Eating emotionally or forgetting to eat. Not going to the gym or dropping the ball on our usual fitness routine because we’ve lost our motivation. Wine o’clocking our days earlier and earlier. Staying up late and watching crappy TV or back to back episodes of our favourite series. 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, full of promise 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. The kinds of things we filled out on our self-love list together. Beach walks, making our own fresh juices, going to the movies with friends, meditation, a girly lunch, gratitude journaling, a dinner date. Whatever is on your 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.
In short. Feel the hurt. You’re allowed to- it’s healthy. Curse the world (or the individual) if you need to. Let your emotions take you on their natural and usual course of hurt, most often through to anger, confusion and/or disappointment before then freeing yourself, moving on and doing what makes you smile again (tip. the more you just let this happen the quicker it will unfold on its own, don’t fight it),
Get out there. Move on bigger, brighter and better for it all.
My book here may also help further inspire you to smile bright again xx
Image Source. To the unknown person who created this fuck-u-unicorn. Thank you. It is brilliant. If this is yours I will immediately and happily credit your name to this image.