Sunshine: It’s Okay not to be Okay

All of my previous “sunshine” blogposts have talked about my positive attitude, optimism, methods to maintain happiness, and some of the ways that positivity has helped me to be resilient through tough times. They have focussed exclusively on how positivity helps – and has helped – me when working through different difficult times in my life.

I’m going to ‘shake it up’ a little this week and talk about the ways that positivity and negativity go hand-in-hand, why I think we need negativity sometimes, and why I think negative emotions and moods can actually be helpful.

Specifically, I’m talking about when we are hurt, angry, sad, frustrated, or any other ‘negative’ emotion, there is a tendency to view these feelings as a problem. Sometimes, we might try to force ourselves to feel better before we’re ready in an effort to ‘get over it’ and ‘move on’ as soon as possible.

There’s a huge emphasis on happiness, enjoying life, and positive emotions in western society, especially with younger ‘millennial’ generations, as we try to be happy all or most of the time. I’ve noticed that people from all walks of life, even speakers of other languages, know “Don’t worry, be happy.”

I think that I often forget that the negative emotions like sadness, anger, frustration are both natural and necessary: how could we understand joy and comfort without them?

I think that, when I try to force myself to move on from difficult emotions and moods more quickly than naturally, I bury negative feelings, rather than actually healing, so the outcome is simply a suppression that always (eventually) comes back later to bother me even more.

For me, there is some value in feeling negatively.

All feelings are valid, even – and especially – the negative ones.

If you’re feeling sad, you don’t have to cheer up. It’s okay to float in that negativity for a while. It’s can be okay to flood your system with it when you need to. Nobody should tell you how to feel, and as long as your negative feelings aren’t harming you or others, you can – and should – feel however you want.

What do I do when I have a bad day? Sometimes I try to cheer up. But sometimes, I just tell myself, “Fine! Let’s do this!”, grump around, do some indulgent things, and soak in that mood. Then, when I wake up the next day, I usually feel good because I vented all that grumpiness the day before. In these cases, I thank myself.

I think there’s a balance to be struck between the positive and the negative (not the harmful – that’s a completely different topic for another day) moods and emotions that we experience in our lives. We can’t force ourselves to be unnaturally happy-go-lucky and positive every single second of every single day. That would be exhausting!

I don’t know about you, but I would explode. That’s too much happiness, even for me!

I think it’s important to acknowledge, validate, and work through negative feelings at our own healthy pace.

I think that we shouldn’t have to rush through healing because other people say so.

I think we should definitely move at our own paces.

I think it’s sometimes okay not to be okay.

Well, fellow humans, what do you think? Are negative emotions necessary? How do you handle them? What do you do to work through them at your own pace? Is it okay not to be okay? Drop me a line in the comments, I always love a wee chat!

If you enjoyed this little post on positivity and negativity, check out some similar older ones: “Sunshine: My Positive Attitude”, “Sunshine: Staying Positive when Sick”, and/or “Sunshine and Somewhere: Resilience”.

If you’re interested in my teaching, working, volunteering, and/or travel experience, be sure to check out my LinkedIn profile.

Thanks for stopping by!


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