You don't need to be the one who smiles through the pain. Don't hide your negative feelings, especially from yourself.
The one thing that everyone learns in life is that it's absolutely unpredictable. It can go from good to bad to unbearably worse in no time. But even if life has a way of catching you off-guard, you have your way of overcoming whatever life throws at you. There's really nothing you can't overcome with the right attitude and emotional strength, and it doesn't mean focusing on the positive alone. Beth Kurland, a clinical psychologist wrote on the University of California, Berkeley, website — Greater Good, about how embracing even your dark emotions can push you along the path to living fuller. Here's what happens when you're finally able to accept your dark emotions.
Sometimes you might spend months, even years trying to avoid painful emotions. It could be a relationship that damaged your self-esteem years ago, the loss of a loved one that you still haven't dealt with or something that changed your life completely but you haven't wrapped your head around it. You might go on convincing yourself saying, "I'm okay" and telling everyone else that you're fine. But it's only when you finally stop avoiding your emotions and really live out the grief inside, that you really start moving on.
You might be the one who always keeps it together, who smiles through the pain and shows the world your brave face. But do you feel the same behind closed doors? Are you someone in front of your friends but someone else when you're alone? There's no reason to keep unpleasant emotions to yourself. As Dr. Kurland explained, turning away from unpleasant emotions might lead you to the path of psychological distress, anxiety, inflexibility, and even depression. But when you open the door to sadness and you're willing to see what's behind it, you find ways to get through what you're feeling. And that will then lead you to what you're looking for, a door that has joy behind it.
Remember all those times when you sat with your loved ones and gave them your shoulder to lean on when they needed it the most? When you allow yourself to embrace your dark emotions, it is sort of the same. But it's you, yourself who's helping yourself get back on your feet. It's like you're sitting down with your emotions instead of running away from them. It's not just the negative emotions that you open your heart up to, but also the negative ones and that's what helps you heal from all that you're going through.
When you ignore pain over and over again, it can build up and turn into something that emotionally destroys you. But dealing with pain as and when it comes can help you get a better grip over it. This way, you don't get stuck in your own patterns or cycles of pain. Not only does it make you stronger, overcome your loss, but it also means that the next time something happens, you're not emotionally paralyzed by it. You tell yourself, "I've done this before. I've been through worse, and this time I'm going to come out even stronger."
Don't deny your dark or painful emotions. Denying them or rejecting them would mean that you're denying yourself. You're pulling yourself back from truly being. You may have tried to reject those feelings in the past, tried to make yourself numb to pain. But even your negative emotions are valid. You understand that you can be angry, sad or confused in your life or in a relationship. And when someone makes you feel that way, you know it's valid instead of trying to push those feelings away; and you stand up for what you deserve.
When you are finally able to accept your dark emotions, you let yourself live completely. Allowing yourself to experience sadness helps you feel happiness wholly. When you know pain, you start valuing joy even more. You start paying attention to the people, the relationships and the things in your life that really matter. You let yourself be vulnerable and emotionally strong. You let your heart be open and finally live the life you're meant to.