Social media has become a popular outlet that has led our culture and generation to gear towards the idea of “pro-positivity.” Inspirational quotes, motivational articles, and encouragement among our peers are now regular sightings and nothing out of the ordinary to our screen-adapted eyes.
While this is charming and something I hope continues to grow, like most good things, it also has its downfalls.
A recent quote I (ironically) acquired from a friend’s post on Instagram, says, “In a cultural age that’s decidedly pro-positivity, the pressure to suppress or camouflage negative feelings is real.”
Becoming accustomed to a surplus of positivity portrays an unrealistic life. We can sit here and repeatedly tell ourselves it’s not “real life,” but the truth is, it still kinda fucks with us.
And of course, we dare NOT post anything negative going on in our own lives because – gasp – how could anyone ever find that out?!
I don’t believe we should necessarily be posting the more “real” things in life, but I do believe we should focus on accepting and living with difficult emotions.
Another quote from that article says, “Psychological studies have shown that acceptance of those negative emotions is the more reliable route to regaining and maintaining peace of mind.” Shocker.
So just how do we accept emotions that tend to be more problematic?
1. Resist the Urge to Strive for Happiness
When you are focusing on attaining happiness, it becomes this elusive idea that, hopefully, one day you’ll achieve.
Instead of setting a goal to become happy, reflect on your current situation or state of mind and gain control.
I don’t know if you know this, but the brain is mighty powerful.
Repeat mantras throughout the day like “I AM happy and successful,” “I deserve happiness,” and “Happiness begins with an open heart,” to engrain these ideas in your mind. You might be surprised at how monumental the words become.
2. Confront Your Difficult Emotions
Feeling resentful or frustrated may not be feelings we necessarily enjoy feeling, but they’re detrimental to our personal growth, and frankly, they’re part of our human structure.
Rather than ignoring these emotions, acknowledge them. This can sometimes be the hardest part. Take some time for self-realization and understand why you’re feeling this way, then just FEEL them! Gone are the days when men don’t cry and when women are too sensitive. You feel like crying? Cool, here’s a shoulder. You need to let out some anger and vent? Sweet, here’s an ear.
We’re allowed to feel the way we do, and even if it’s recognizing that these feelings aren’t always good, it’s healthier to confront them while getting to know yourself a little better along the way. (Self-realization is the tits.)
3. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing all your attention on the current moment, and accepting it without judgement. In a world of chaos, these tranquil moments can be the key to coping with the madness while reducing stress and anxiety.
While it may seem silly or tedious at first, sitting in silence with your eyes closed allows you the opportunity to think, breathe, and create space between ourselves and our reactions.