I watched a movie called Love Happens the other night, with Aaron Eckhard and Jennifer Anniston! The premise of the movie was basically a man who was one of these high dollar self-help gurus who had lost his wife in a car accident 3 years prior, then wrote a book and started teaching seminars on how to overcome grief and be A-OK with you life! He coached others on moving past their grief and finding their happiness again, which he did in fact seem to be rather good at doing. He was able to remind people of their purpose and their worth, in spite of their loss, and nudge them to begin moving forward again and healing.
It was interesting to watch. He was always smiling in public. Had an amazing persona and just bubbled with enthusiasm for helping others overcome their grief. He had this list of do’s and don’ts that he articulated in his book, to help guide others. As the film progressed, it was clear he didn’t take his own medicine. One in particular was not to drown your sorrows in alcohol, as it’s like putting a bandaid over a bullet wound! In public he didn’t drink, yet in his hotel room when he was alone, he certainly did throw a few back. He took the stairs rather than the elevator, as there was obviously some deep seated fear there.
Funny thing was, this guy built a multi-million dollar industry around his experience with grief and truly helped thousands of people get past theirs, YET HE NEVER DEALT WITH IS OWN! He had the talk down. He knew the buzz words and he totally came off as credible and honest, BUT WAS HE? At the end of the day, he felt the same pains that others felt. He found himself in the midst of some pretty serious down times and agonizing grief, but his pride in being the expert and his fear of falling apart kept him from coming to terms and dealing with that. Instead, he just poured 100% of himself into managing the mask or front that everything was FABULOUS and he went on helping others. Now granted, he did some wonderful things, but his own life was quite the lie.
Anyway, my entire point in telling you all this is that it reminded me of something VERY important. Some of you may disagree with this, and that’s certainly your privilege to do so, but this is one truth I have found to be true without exception in my life.
WE ALL HAVE TIMES OF STRUGGLE AND PERIODS WHERE WE FIND OURSELVES DOWN AND CHALLENGED! THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS TO THAT RULE! If you say you are, then you are lying to yourself! I don’t care how positive you are. I don’t care what positive, psycho-babble routines you have trained yourself to believe. WE ALL HAVE DOWN TIMES. Here’s where the rubber meets the road…. HOW DO YOU CHOOSE TO RESPOND TO THOSE AND RECOVER?
Yes, I know this was just a movie I watched last night….. but was it? I see this in every day life, all around me, constantly! I am surrounded by people who have high vibrational energy and positive outlooks, and let’s face it, I am one of those annoyingly positive people most of the time and I love it and choose to continue to be! HOWEVER……. Even the best of the positive gurus has a down day once in a blue moon, and sometimes more often than that. LIFE HAPPENS PEOPLE!
The question becomes, do they pretend to be ok in public just to maintain the positive reputation and status quo, or do they really become transparent and acknowledge they are struggling, but are well on their way up again?
Here’s where I think things get a bit murky for many. I totally understand how incredibly important it is to maintain a high level of positive energy. I recognize how powerful that is in transforming our lives and drawing more positive experiences to ourselves. Gratitude is the highest vibrational energy next to love, and is amazingly powerful in changing negative energy to positive! Likewise, I also know how detrimental negative energy is, how focusing on and constantly talking about the negatives in our life is devastating and draws even more negative into our existence. HOWEVER….. that does not give us license to not be honest about where we are. There is a difference between acknowledging where we are, not necessarily attaching emotion to it but just acknowledging it, and determining to move beyond it, versus wallowing in it for extended periods of time.
This is where I part ways with much company! There is nothing wrong with saying we are struggling today! It is not WEAK, it is nothing to be embarrassed about, it does not mean we have not mastered the positive thinking game quite as well as Jane Doe and it does not mean we are seeking attention! What it means is that WE ARE STRUGGLING TODAY and need a new perspective and often the POSITIVE influence of others to help see what we may not be able to in the midst of our difficulty that can help move us along to our next place of awesomeness!
Friends, it takes much more strength to be honest about where you are than it does to pretend everything is OK when it’s not. And trying to PRETEND to be perfectly positive 100% of the time when that is NOT humanly possible is not only damaging to yourself, it’s damaging to those around you who falsely believe the bar is set at 100% positive perfection, and then become discouraged because they cannot attain it. When in essence, neither can anyone else, they just don’t admit to it!
Please understand I am not advocating constantly wallowing in your struggles and articulating every difficulty you encounter in your life. Focusing on negative will always create much more of the same. What I am advocating is being ok with where you are, YES EVEN WHEN YOU FIND YOURSELF DOWN – WHICH WILL HAPPEN FROM TIME TO TIME, yet focusing your energy and intent on being where you want to be, not in your current circumstances.
I hope maybe this can be freeing for at least one person, who has given up on trying to be positive, because the bar has been set at perfection by others who pretend to be there 100% of the time, unrealistically!
Friends, let me tell you, this is a journey, not an event. We all have to LEARN to be positive and practice that daily. And guess what, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US FAILS SOMETIMES TOO AND THAT’S OK! We get back on the bike and start riding again. The only wrong choice is to stay down indefinitely and wallow in it. It takes some of us a bit longer to get up than it might others. And again…. GUESS WHAT? With practice friends, those times get shorter and shorter and we begin to bounce back more quickly than last time. With enough practice, we get to where we rarely get down and when we do, we bounce back almost immediately! But again…. that comes with PRACTICE. So, perhaps that person who has been struggling for several weeks now isn’t quite as practiced as you might be. Hmmm…. how about encouraging them and helping them up again?
I just want to shatter this notion that it’s not ok to ever be down and that those who are strong enough, or positive enough, or psychologically balanced enough never experience these things! Put on your wading boots gang, because it’s getting deep in here and I don’t mean with water!
If your dog dies, you’re going to be sad for a period and experience grieving! That’s ok! Just don’t stay there!
PLEASE BE REAL and make it ok for others to be real as well, without judgment, and rather with great encouragement! This is an amazing life, with some ups and downs, but it can be a wonderful ride MOST of the time if we practice the right perspective! The times it’s not quite as fabulous, let’s make an effort to help encourage and make the ride a bit smoother for our friends!
In closing……Can you think of at least 50 things in your life you are grateful for today? If you can’t, let me know and I bet I can help you find them!
Love and light,
Laura Corby :)