Have you ever heard something really inspiring that made you pause and think? Last week I was scrolling absentmindedly through Rachel Brathen’s Instagram account (@yoga_girl) when I saw a video of her talking about bad days or times in your life and although I’ve been a firm believer that bad days are completely necessary in order for us to appreciate the good days, her message made me pause because that’s not all she said.
In her video, Brathen shared that it isn’t just enough to realize bad days are necessary but that we have to let bad days or crappy moods run their course. It seems almost engrained in us that happy is always best and if we aren’t happy, we should do everything we can to be happy again or at least look happy for everyone around us.
That’s just plain silly and unproductive.
We shouldn’t rush to push away and/or burry our unpleasant emotions but rather, we allow ourselves to really feel them. Let the emotions coursing through us live, flourish, and then pass as they naturally do. By being in touch with (and at peace with) our emotions, we can actually appreciate the good days and thus achieve true and open, and honest happiness.
Easier said then done! Who could have known the week I’d have after watching that video where I’d really be challenged to apply what I’d learned from Brathen. I’m always the positive one, always cheery, and positive trying to help build people up. When I’m not feeling happy, I try and push my feelings aside so that I can be the person people expect me to be. I may seem happy to the world but over the years I’ve buried all kinds of frustrations and a slew of less-than-happy-emotions. Every once in a while some little thing forces the emotions I’ve bottled up to burst (like it did this week), leaving me feeling horribly blah and terribly unhappy.
After a long day of work, struggling through the latest revisions on my thesis and the frustrations that have been building up in me for a while, I finally let myself feel. On my ride home, alone in my car, I let myself really feel all the unpleasant, miserable feelings my sleep-deprived, anxiety and stress riddled brain was trying to work through. Initially (even though I was alone) it was uncomfortable because I am so unused to physically expressing my frustrations and pausing just long enough to focus on why I’m upset.
I learned a lot about myself and the truth of Brathen’s words. Hers is a powerful lesson that helped me through my bad week and will likely help me through many more because bad days are inevitable but its how we deal with them that can mean the difference between feigning happiness and really having something to smile about.