I think sometimes we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be ‘the best we can be’, to be perfect, to always do the right thing. Humans inherently are seeking happiness. But damn it, sometimes life just sucks and we do have bad times.
Here I am, someone who has faced cancer, a muddled through a myriad of other things and am now dealing with aging parents and managing through my remaining cancer treatment. People call me inspirational, probably because I do try to make the best in life no matter what, and I teach meditation and mindfulness to others. But do you know what? I’m not perfectly happy. I’m not perfect. I have good days and bad days. And when I have the bad days sometimes I feel down about feeling that way.
I have found a great way to weather the bad days that I’d love to share with you. Give yourself permission to be sad and have the bad days. It’s OK. We are human. Bad days will happen. We don’t have to be perfect. It’s OK to be angry, to cry, to feel sorry for yourself on occasion. I often give this advice to people going through divorce – sadness, guilt and regret can come and go for years afterwards. Just remember to apologize to others if you have lashed out at them 😮
A few weeks ago, I was alone and suddenly felt really sad. I thought to myself “I have no idea why I’m feeling this way, but I do. Why do I have to deal with all of this?” I happened to be unloading my dishwasher at the time and burst out into tears. Then I gave myself permission to be sad – it must have been a comical scene – me bawling my eyes out but still unloading the dishwasher until the task was done! After that crying session, I felt so much better. It didn’t matter why I cried, but what did matter is the perspective I took. I knew the down period would pass, and I gave myself permission to experience it. Now, if the sadness had lasted consistently for several weeks, of course this could be a different story, but it didn’t last.
When you think about it, how can you even know what happiness is unless you’ve gone through sad times?
So be self-aware, gain perspective, and give yourself permission to have these human emotions. After all, we are human and meant to experience the ups and downs of life.