Over the past few months, I have come to realise that aiming to be positive all the time and rejecting and resisting negative thoughts doesn’t work. More than that, it’s not good for us because we beat ourselves up when things go differently. I think it’s important to acknowledge that there are times when we haven’t been able to be happy, and it’s ok.
Last week, I was very ill with a virus, and it completely knocked me out. I literally couldn’t leave my bed and felt as ill as I did during my flare last September. I couldn’t stand without the dizziness becoming too much, I couldn’t eat solid food. While I was feeling this ill, negative thoughts resurfaced.
Over the past few months, I had started doing yoga and meditation and had even started eating very healthily, and felt like I was getting better. So when a small virus managed to hurt me this much, I felt very down. A virus had never affected me this much before, and I felt like my search to get better was fruitless. Why was I becoming more ill? At the time, I ended up speaking to someone, and told them I was very sad that I was still ill despite all my lifestyle changes when others had managed to get better.
But the person didn’t understand why I felt negative, and told me I shouldn’t be negative, that this attitude wasn’t going to help me get better. So I told them something I’ve come to understand:
I am only human. All humans have an inbuilt negative bias, and over the past few months I had managed to understand that for the most part and am slowly learning more and more to take each moment as it comes. The way I relate to my anxiety has changed dramatically. The fact that I still didn’t leave the house much, and still relied on care for a lot of things, didn’t get me down as much. And that is an achievement in itself. I am in general, calmer, and I have found so many things to be grateful for! But I had temporary anxious thoughts and sadness, and that’s normal, especially for someone in my situation.
So what do I do when I feel sad? I don’t resist it. Thoughts should not be resisted. The best thing to do is to be able to let go of needing to judge it or fix it. And know that it will pass away, this sadness – because it is impermanent. Even depression (which is a long period of feeling these sad thoughts) isn’t permanent. We are not forever sad or forever depressed, because it is not in the human condition to be “forever”. We often think about how many times we have had the beginning of a negative thought, but do we ever think about the times when the negative thought ceases?
And I accept that this sadness or anxiety or panic is here. I even welcome it, and think “sadness – It’s ok that you’re here”. And then, knowing I have accepted sadness is there, afterwards – there are many things I can do that make me feel a little better in myself, but not necessarily with the intention of getting rid of the sadness. I just sit and think about all the good people in my life, my friends, my loved ones, being alive. I read a really good book or some do some crafts.
I know I shouldn’t compare myself to others, and every so often, I remind myself not to get upset with myself when things don’t happen overnight. I want to take each day as it comes, of course hoping I will get better, because hope is powerful. But hope is not all there is, because what we have now is very important. It’s ok to not be happy all the time, but as the same time, remember that happiness is always within reach, sometime in the future 🙂