How many times have you been told to just smile and be thankful? Plenty, I’m sure. While this is good advice and we should do those things often, we know that life is so much more complex. We can’t just smile all our problems away. Being able to feel and express so many different emotions is what makes the human experience so astonishing. It’s important to allow yourself to feel all of them to have a rich, full life.
There’s nothing wrong with being sad or angry or worried. Those feelings help us to learn and grow. Don’t ignore them or bury them under a happy façade. Try to understand why you are feeling that way, and let yourself be. Giving yourself permission to fully experience whatever state you may be in is one of the most cathartic, purifying things you can do.
If you’ve had a rough day, go in your room and let yourself cry. If you’re brimming with anger, scream into a pillow or write it in a letter you don’t intend to send. Find a safe way to let it all out. Be honest with yourself. Then move on. This part is vital. You want to exhaust all the negativity so you can bring yourself back to a balanced state of being. Time yourself if that helps. Sometimes when I’ve just had a lousy day or things aren’t going the way I want them to, I allow myself to be frustrated and angry in a SAFE ENVIRONMENT for 15 minutes—not a second longer. I give myself a break from any urgent tasks that need to be done or decisions that need to be made. Once my time is up, I get back to my life.
Usually that’s plenty enough time for me to clear my head and start thinking rationally again. By acknowledging the negative emotions, we can appreciate the positive ones on a deeper level. They teach us things about who we are and what makes us feel alive. Remember to express yourself in a safe way. If you feel like you or someone else is in danger, don’t be afraid to seek help. You are a human being, ever changing and growing. Embrace the ups and downs, and keep going.