Some days as I scroll through my social media feeds, I am encouraged by the onslaught of positive, life-affirming messages provided by a list of self-subscribed life coaches, psychologists, counselors, personal trainers, healers, shamans, magicians, you name it (myself included). Yes, I set my social media feeds up this way because there was a time when I counted myself out of the social media game due to the barrage of critical, negative, passive-aggressive intellectualism that was also pervasive on my self-subscribed feeds. My patience and enthusiasm for all things called “Life” was going down the toilet after reading these critically religious feeds, self-absorbed intellectualism that advised that life sucks until Jesus returns or just to get over it because this sucky life is just the way it is. Life is a struggle, deal with it. I didn’t believe that.
Then, I flipped the script and turned on the positive feeds and encouragement and happiness returned and my outlook on this whole social media thing changed. Yet, I find myself questioning again and I don’t want to anymore, but my mind won’t let this go. Why? Because, I am a typically positive, life-affirming person that wants to feel good and wants others to also. But I know the depth of pain I had to get through in order to feel some sense of joy and happiness in the present moment.
We don’t want to show that “ugly” side of us that may not be feeling like standing here in these matching outfits with our siblings taking these pictures. Like how we always say “cheese” or “smile” when we take pictures. I was advised to smile on this family photo, but I did not (Rebel Regina).
I’m not saying people have to go through tragedy to understand and appreciate happiness. Yet, we are taught in some aspects of this culture to “pick ourselves up by our bootstraps” and “everything will be alright” and “G-o-d has a bigger plan for you that’s why you are going through what you’re going through”. I’m not convinced these are helpful to all, but I get it. Though well intentioned, they’re small band-aids covering a larger wound. The wound is deep and piercing of muscles and nerves and veins that have memories of trauma. The healing is in the inner work on the tissues. Stopping the tearing and bleeding so the healing can begin; so the blood can return to the heart and rest of the body.
I believe such are our emotions and our return to our hearts, to love. All this to say, there’s a balance in it for me. And this balance looks different for each person. I so love engaging my creative, magical, mystical, positive affirming side because I do feel better and have a more life-affirming perspective. I’ve seen too many times how going so far into the emotional wound without some positive, life-affirming treatment and people spiral downward quickly. However, not enough attention on the underlying emotions (the ugly, the negative, the ones that don’t feel so good) in a situation without a full acknowledgment on how we really feel can lead to the passive aggressive repression of real feelings. Real feelings which when tended to, guided, can bring lasting change and contentment in whatever situation arises. Dare I say happiness.