Sunday, 18 January 2015

Feeling Bad for Feeling Bad

I lost faith a little bit in my writings lately…

I realised I’ve been wrong about a lot of things and have written some blogs in the past making assumptions and giving advice that I don’t agree with myself any more.  I’ve talked to people who have changed my mind about things, straightened things out in my head and allowed me to see my own points of view from a different perspective. 

So I thought… who am I to preach ways of doing things if I haven’t learned the lessons properly myself? How embarrassing to write so confidently about life when I don’t know any more about it than anyone else and constantly get things wrong?

But you know what, screw it, I like writing. And musing. And getting it wrong. I suppose when it comes down to it, most advice is only stories told by people who are living their own lives as well as they can, just like everyone else. We take on board what we need to hear.

So here I go again. Who knows maybe in a year’s time I’ll re-write this with a year’s extra life experience under my belt.

Feeling Bad for Feeling Bad


This blog is for anyone who, from time to time, feels bad about feeling bad.

Ok, so this is what happens: 

* Your best friend has a baby. You’re so incredibly happy for her, she’s beaming with love and excitement… but you can’t shake the realisation that the days of hanging out, giggling at nothing, painting your nails with glitter and feeling like there was nothing in the world more important than your friendship are a thing of the past.

* Your little brother moves to Australia because he’s been offered his perfect job. You’ve never been so proud of him but you didn’t realise until it happened how much you were going to miss him, or how jealous you would feel.

* You’re going to a party where everyone is wearing elegant classy clothing, but you just don’t feel comfortable in any of the dresses you try on, so you wear a dress you already have. It isn’t so elegant or classy, but it’s YOU. Everyone at the party compliments you on your individual look and says they wish they had the confidence to do it. The party’s great, and you feel a sense of pride, but a little bit of you really just wishes you could be elegant and classy too, and all night you can’t shake that feeling of discontent in your own skin. 

I’d like to frame this from a context of positivity to start with. I very much believe that thoughts are at the root of almost everything that happens to us in our lives. I genuinely believe that if you nurture positive thoughts you will live a happier life. It’s not just flowery-pastel-coloured-unicorns-and-rainbows talk. This quote from an author called Katherine Woodward-Thomas illustrates what I mean quite well:

“Life is a creative process and our thoughts, beliefs, assumptions, choices, actions and words are the tools we use to invent our experiences and circumstances.”

But what do you end up with on combining these two elements of life; a tricky contradiction. You want to feel only good things because you want only good things to come to you and others you love, but the truth is, you don’t feel only good things. What do you DO with that?

Well, to be honest, I don’t know. But there is this: congratulations. You can feel. You’re really good at it. You’re so good at it in fact, you can be overwhelmed with feelings of joy and sadness at the same time. That is something quite special and something you can be proud of.

There is a level of sensitivity where we are able to appreciate every feeling and emotion our bodies provide us with. Where’s the fun in denying that ability? Just do it! Cry at a sunrise! Laugh out loud at a group of frolicking lambs! Dance because you’re so happy! Scream because you’re so angry (maybe not in someone’s face, though that might be tempting)! 

But of course, when your body knows how to feel these things, you WILL feel them, even when you don’t want to. It’s OK though- that’s the point I really want to make here. You don’t need to be angry at yourself that you feel bad when you should feel good. 

I’ve spent much of my life avoiding the word ‘sensitive’ and feeling embarrassment at the fact that I have emotional responses to pretty much everything. But then when I stop to think about it, it’s those very responses that have allowed me to have the most poignant moments in my life. Emotions, I suppose, are a physical response to the information going into your body. Do you know what, I’m glad I have them. Sadness and pain are as much a part of that experience as happiness and pleasure. And they are not in any way mutually exclusive! 

Ok, so you may not be able to control your body’s physical response to things. What you can do however is nourish the good thoughts and give less energy to the bad ones. In practical language:
don’t spend too much time contemplating the bad. Feelings you can’t do anything about, thoughts you can. If you’re caught in a loop of negative thinking then maybe you could try reminding yourself you feel bad because you’re sensitive to emotions and this is one of those experiences in life that makes you feel bad. Experience it. Think about how it makes you feel. And then let that be. Let yourself feel bad, then remind yourself of the good, and try to be grateful for it and to hold on to those thoughts of gratitude and happiness. I don’t think you need to do anything more than that.

And remember that everyone else on this planet who feels things as explicitly as you do….? We understand.

Massive love x

On a serious note, if anyone is reading this and thinking they only ever have bad thoughts, and can’t hold on to the good ones… firstly I’ve been there and I know how that feels, secondly, you can bring yourself out of it with work and with HELP. Seriously, find someone to talk to about it. It’ll change your life.

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