There’s something I’ve been really angry about. Angry? Yes, just so fucking angry at these sentences we all hear all the time: ‘Just be positive. Try to feel better. You should be happy. Always look at the bright side of things. Why are you always so negative, try to be positive! Don’t be such a Debby Downer. Oh no, don’t feel bad!’ I could go on for ages when it comes to phrases like these. I just can’t hear them anymore and I want to tell you why. I want to share why I think it’s okay to feel bad, even if you feel bad all the time, for a while or even longer.
God bless my mom, but she and I would butt heads a lot about her being way too positive in my opinion. She will probably read this and immediately remember hearing me say I didn’t understand why she’s always so ‘happy the peppy.’ Yeah, I realize that sounds less cool in English than in Dutch. Which is what I am, I’m Dutch and I’m often not ‘happy the peppy’ at all! As a teenager I could not understand why my mom was always sooo positive or happy about everything. I still don’t understand it and now I know why: It’s simply impossible!
No, this isn’t an attack towards my mom. I love her and I know she reads my blog, so mom: You have nothing to worry about, we’re good! However, she is the perfect example for this article. I think it’s okay to feel bad, but society makes you feel like it’s not. People are constantly acting like they’re happy. Like nothing is wrong, everything is peachy, and god forbid you have a bad day. Because you should always be putting your best foot forward. There’s so much to be happy about, right!?
Let’s put that in perspective here, because there is a lot to be happy about. And then there’s a lot you simply can’t be happy about at all! For some reason, we’ve taught ourselves that’s not okay. Whenever we feel bad, most of us immediately turn that frown upside down and pretend we are okay. It’s ridiculous and it doesn’t even help anyway. Do you recognize the description of a depressed person? It says often times depressed people seem the happiest person you’ll ever know, they’re very good at hiding how they really feel.
You and I might not be depressed by a chemical imbalance. But we might feel depressed a lot and we’ve learned how to hide it really freaking well too. Which is crazy if you really, truly, deeply think about it. Please let me explain why I think it’s okay to feel bad and why I came to this realization. Maybe it’s already obvious to you and for some reason it was obvious to me, but I always swept it under the rug. Because feeling bad isn’t something you choose do, there often is something you feel bad about and then pretend you don’t.
I pretend I don’t feel bad about my dog dying on November 22, 2019. Because if I do, I’m afraid I’ll bother other people. I know they won’t want to be around me, because when I feel bad, it’s a really ugly thing to see. People haven’t learned that feeling bad for whatever reason, is just as good as feeling happy. It’s just another feeling or an emotion. Whatever you want to call it, it’s completely normal! Yet, we treat feeling bad like an ugly disease no one wants to deal with. It’s crazy, as we people are three-dimensional beings.
We are mind, body and soul. You’re mind a.k.a your brain also regulates a lot of things for you, without you even realizing it. You breathe, blink, smile, frown, fart, burp and feel automatically all kinds of emotions throughout the day. Think about it, you never really give your brain the command to feel hopeful, sad or happy. Do you? You don’t command your brain to feel absolutely heartbroken when your relationship ends. It just does that for you and you can’t stop it. I wonder why we see that natural reaction as something ugly we can’t show?
It’s a natural thing, yet we constantly try to force ourselves into a happy state. We constantly pretend to feel happy, because we know feeling bad is frowned upon. You’ll hear things like: ‘Get over it! Are you still sad about that? Oh, things will be better soon. Cheer up! You need to move on.’ Those remarks make you feel bad about feeling bad. You know people are telling you these things because they don’t want to, or can’t handle you while you feel bad. So they make you adjust to their standards, since that’s much easier?
I think it’s also because back in the old days people were described as crazy when their behavior was different. You’d get locked up, they would crack your skull open and shock you with electricity. Because people wanted you to be ‘normal’ or happy. No wonder why people are so afraid to express themselves. It’s crazy how something so natural as feeling bad is seen as something you should feel bad about.
Which obviously makes it even worse. Therefor I think it’s good to feel bad and to feel like that as long as you want to. It’s natural and everyone should be able to feel bad and to display it. I’ve started doing that again when my dog died. If I feel bad, I feel bad: Deal with it. I’m done tiptoeing around my own feelings and feeling bad about other people seeing me when I actually show myself. Because when I pretend I’m okay when I’m not, I’m basically enforcing that same idea on you.
And I do not want to make you feel like you can’t feel bad. I want you to know it’s okay to feel that way. When you get the chance to actually feel bad, it will also allow you to feel really good and happy when you finally do. It’s not fake, it’s not an act, it’s real! When you let the bad stuff out for however long you need to, there will be actual room for all the good stuff. No undertone, no slumbering depressed feeling and no hard feelings about acting like you’re happy all day.
I know, this is a long ass article. But if you’ve actually read it and get what I’m saying, please let me know. In short I just want to let you know: ‘I think it’s okay to feel bad, even if you feel bad all the time, for a while or even longer.’ If we all get this and use it, no one ever has to feel bad about feeling bad anymore. Hell, we might actually start to see some realness again. And I think we could all use some of that in 2020. So let’s actually show how we feel when we feel bad, so we can actually be happy afterwards.
Feel bad to feel better,