Who doesn’t want happiness? Especially for people who have experience with depression, which can be scary, isolating, and overwhelming, the idea of happiness is something that we are naturally drawn to.
There is a positivity movement going on right now, promoting positive thinking and affirmations, and all that is great. However, there is a potential trap that many people fall into when trying to deal with their depression or low states, and that is the avoidance of unhappiness.
Now this is really important: Avoidance of pain is NOT the path to happiness.
If we try to block out or resist or run away from our negative emotions, we are denying a natural part of ourselves, and this denial leads to feelings of guilt and shame when those negative feelings inevitably come up. The raw truth is that sadness, fear, grief and all that uncomfortable stuff are a natural part of existence. All the affirmations in the world are not going to magically make those states go away from our lives. Now, I use affirmations myself, and they are certainly useful in focusing our intention and aligning our energy with our highest selves. However, if it is our expectation that we will reach a point when we don’t ever feel uncomfortable, then we are fighting a losing battle.
Where we CAN find comfort and relief is in the acceptance of all the part of ourselves, the "good" and the "bad"; the acceptance of the reality of existence, which is that both of these dualities naturally exist. Once we accept this law of nature, we don't have to fight anymore. We can avoid the trap of getting stuck in one or the other of dualities - either by grasping at the positive feelings or resisting the negative ones. Through awareness and acceptance of the totality of experience we can find a balance point in the middle. Again, resistance of the reality of our situation is what anchors us in pain. If we can begin to see our emotional states like clouds in the sky that eventually pass away, we can begin to breathe a little easier. We can even learn to see these "negative" emotional states useful and we can learn to be grateful for them.
To learn more about finding emotional balance and wellbeing, check out my workshop series coming up in July! Click here for info.
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