For a long time I thought the goal in life was to achieve constant happiness, and that if ever I felt unhappy, I should be able to snap my fingers and feel better because I’m alive with a roof over my head and things could always be way worse.
Yes it’s important to be grateful for what we have.
However, when we’re having a hard time, that is our current reality. To deny that is to be inauthentic.
We don’t always have to push it down and power through with a fake smile.
It’s okay to feel unhappy sometimes.
It’s okay to have a bad day, and it’s okay to show the world you feel tired, cranky, and stressed.
All of these emotions are okay. They’re part of the human experience, so embrace your humanity!
It took me a long time to learn this, and I still need many reminders, especially recently, so I wanted to share a story and remind you too.
Last month I moved into a new apartment. It’s been hard adjusting to a new place and new neighborhood. So many things have ticked me off. I’ve felt annoyed A LOT.
Noises outside waking me way too early.
Wasps getting into the apartment.
Neighbors talking loudly right outside my window.
I tried to focus on gratitude and snap myself out of it. But the annoyance kept coming back. Ignoring it wasn’t working.
Then I remembered that it’s okay to feel this way.
What’s been helpful for me is to call the feeling out for what it is and what triggered it.
“I’m tired because that truck woke me up at 6am!”
“I’m annoyed because I don’t know where the wasp is and I don’t want it to sting me!”
By acknowledging it, we accept it.
It’s when we try to ignore it that we say, “it’s not okay to feel this way,” and it fights even harder to get our attention.
It’s a lot like my cat. She’ll meow and crawl all over my desk when she wants some love. If I give her a few pets, she calms down quickly. The longer I ignore her, the harder she’ll try to get my attention.
Rather than ignoring what doesn’t feel good, my goal now is to cultivate love + acceptance of everything, including myself and my range of emotions.
3 weeks after I moved, I decided to just embrace the things that bothered me. I went to a beautiful park and made a list of EVERYTHING I dislike about the apartment and new circumstances. I wrote a lot!
Again I worried if this would turn me into a Debbie Downer and I’d just get even more frustrated.
But you know what?
Since I wrote that list, those things barely bother me anymore.
When I hear my neighbors making noise, I just think nonchalantly, “Oh yeah they’re being loud again. That’s a thing I don’t like” and then I move on.
Even JUST NOW as I’m writing this, a school next door is having a fire drill 😂😂 What timing!!! Lots of loud beeping! I calmly walked over to close my window and thought, “This is annoying but there’s not much I can do, so I’ll just go back to writing.”
Yeah, this feels a whole lot better 😊
YOUR TURN: Do you tend to push down unpleasant emotions? Do they come back stronger? Would you be willing to hold some space for them, to acknowledge them, and let them be okay? Share in the comments below.