We’ve all heard about the dangers of peer pressure during one’s formative years when it comes to drinking, drugs or in the case of my high school years, to wear one’s hair as sky-high as possible. But years later, societal pressure for adults to always be upbeat and “turn that frown upside down” isn’t doing us a whole lot of good either. Because at some point you need to let yourself feel anger, sadness, disappointment or a whole host of other not-so-positive emotions to come out authentically happier on the other side of the issue. Here are three bonafide reasons why it’s good to sometimes let yourself feel bad:
- Acknowledgement is an important part of the healing process. Ever have a bad breakup and immediately try to convince all of your friends and yourself that everything is fine and you’ve already started to forget his name after spending the past 14 months together…only to find yourself wanting to cry hysterically a week later while delivering a PowerPoint about budget forecasts at work? Whatever the challenging situation might arise, it is best to let yourself fully acknowledge the pain and sadness that is present for however long it takes – a few hours, weeks or months – in order to move on in a healthy manner. The key is to be loving and gentle with yourself while doing so, seeking the support of others, journaling and doing things to nurture your well-being in the process.
- Bottling things up can make you act out. When you don’t give negative emotions their due, you might find yourself taking it out in non-productive ways. For example, a multi-year client recently faced a number of business challenges and had to completely eliminate their Public Relations work with my firm. We have lots of mutual respect for each other and parted on the best of terms. I tried telling myself and others around me that it was perfectly fine, and that’s just how it goes in business sometimes. But a few days later I found myself trying to inhale anything chocolate within a several mile radius. Glossing over the sadness I felt about losing a good client prompted me to turn to emotional eating instead. Only when I honestly expressed the sense of loss to myself through journaling was I able to start moving past it and those misguided sugar cravings disappeared.
- Allows you to learn and grow. Tired of “learning experiences” that don’t feel so great in the process? Well buck it up because they are just as important to your well-being as eating green veggies and getting enough sleep at night. Understanding what happened to cause your sadness, anger or loss can help you better deal with those situations in the future while becoming a more centered, better version of yourself in the process.
Have you seen the benefits of letting yourself sometimes feel negative emotions? How has feeling bad ever contributed to your greater good?