It’s not “negative” to be real and expressive about how much certain experiences hurt us.
In fact, being real about our pain can actually be quite positive.
If we want to move past the pain of our past, we need to acknowledge it.
If we avoid acknowledging the pain of our past because we don’t want the “negativity,” we’re virtually guaranteeing that our pain will persist.
Trying to deny and disown something that is obviously affecting us just amplifies its power over us.
We’re not going to move past our pain with “positive thinking.”
We ONLY move past pain with REALISTIC thinking.
We move past pain by being willing to face up to it. By being willing to see it for what it is— no more, but no less.
You’re going to run into LOTS of people who tell you not to “dwell” on your pain.
I’m not in favor of “dwelling” on anything— at least, not dwelling on it longer than it needs to be dwelled upon, anyway.
The truth is, we have to give our pain its due.
Whether we’re talking about pain from our past, or physical pain, or emotional pain, or pain in our relationships— we have to see it for what it is.
If we try to deny and disown our pain, it actually GAINS strength.
There is nothing more crushing than pain we are trying to deny exists.
When we face our pain, we may not like what we see— but the fact that we’re SEEING it allows us to being forming a realistic plan for DEALING with it.
What does “dealing with it” look like?
Part of dealing with pain is seeking out and evaluating ways to lessen that pain.
Another part of dealing with pain is forming a plan to continue on with the meaningful things in our life— making sure that our pain does not take from us the opportunity to create and live a life that we value.
There are times when we can meaningfully lessen the amount of pain we’re in…and there are times when we can’t.
Either way, what we DON’T want is for pain to dominate our ENTIRE mind, take over our ENTIRE life.
I suppose “positive thinking” is useful— at least, if the alternative is “negative thinking.”
But I think that’s a false choice.
I think that we can look for the opportunities in a situation WHILE STILL acknowledging the difficulties of a situation.
I think we can form a plan to live a meaningful life WHILE STILL being very real about the roadblocks and obstacles we’re facing.
I think we can find things to enjoy EVEN AS we’re working through a depressive episode.
I think we can look to the future EVEN AS we process or grief and come to terms with our losses.
If you’re reading this, you are likely experiencing pain of some sort. And nobody gets to minimize your pain.
Nobody gets to tell you what you “should” or “shouldn’t” be able to do, with the level of pain that you’re experiencing.
Don’t get up in your head about anybody else’s expectations— and don’t insist that you stay “positive” no matter what.
Just be real.
For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer— be real.
The real world has more opportunities than a fake “positive” world ever will. I promise.