The vulnerability that honesty requires isn’t something that everybody can handle. -Unknown
Angry. Frustrated. Sad. Lonely. Depressed. Exhausted. Insecure. Hurt. Down. Ordinary.
We all feel negative sometimes. It’s a part of life. You can’t be happy all the time. But I feel like we are being taught more and more to stifle our negative feelings. We are constantly being told to stay away from negative people and to be positive in all situations. These mantras are well and good until you are having a bad day or are so down in whatever hole you find yourself in or dealing with this impossible situation, but instead of trying to find a solution, you are beating yourself up for not having it all together and for not being able to be positive. You wish that you could come clean or confide in someone, but you can’t because they will just think you are complaining or ungrateful or negative. So you push it as deep down as you can, spread a smile on your face, and decide you will figure this whole thing out on your own.
How is this healthy? How is this cultivating strong relationships?
When did being real and being honest translate to being perfect and being positive? Being real and being honest means that you are brave enough to admit that you aren’t perfect, that you don’t have it all together, and that you aren’t positive all the time. Claiming or making it seem like everything is fine and dandy 24/7 is basically a lie; a lie that will end up doing more harm than good.
There is an expectation to not let your hurt show. To keep it hidden, locked up for no one to see. We praise smiles and sunshine and good thoughts. Those who share sad stories or negative thoughts are looked down on and told to keep that to themselves, but why? Why can’t we find the good and the healing in the rain? How are people dealing with negativity supposed to work through their problems and their feelings if they aren’t given the chance?
Now don’t get me wrong – there is a difference between finding the negative in every situation or always seeing a problem instead of a solution – I’m talking about everyday struggles that people are embarrassed to talk about. I know what this feels like, because I have been there. Back in 2015, I felt like this rain cloud followed me around and I couldn’t escape it. I tried to talk about it, but I felt like my feelings would just get waved over and that people would distance themselves. This behavior didn’t encourage me to get better, instead it just made me want to disappear. A lot of people didn’t even have a clue, because I was really good at pretending; so many of us are fantastic at pretending that we are okay and that our life is great! We post pictures of us smiling or out with friends to make sure no one suspects anything, but then the pictures we post aren’t really what’s going on or how we feel or what we’re dealing with.
By accepting your negative Nancy, I just want to stress that it is okay to have a bad day or to complain just a little bit about your new boss or admit that last Saturday you slept in until noon, didn’t shower, and watched tv all day. Everyday of your life doesn’t have to be spectacular or perfect or full of positivity. But I also want to stress that it is okay to accept that your friend or significant other is having a bad day, or needs to complain just a little bit about their new boss, or that they slept in until noon, didn’t shower, and watched tv all day. Let them vent, share, and be honest, because one day you will need them to return that favor.