Today was one of those days when nothing seemed to be going right. I woke up to a cloudy, windy morning which I usually don't mind but today I did because I was going surfing. On my way to the beach I realised my car was out of petrol because my friend who drove it last didn't fill it up and, halfway to the petrol station, I remembered I didn't bring my card, only some cash which wasn't enough. So I had to go back which made me late. Then I had a really bad surf session which made me even more grumpy. On my way back to the car I met someone I know, answered honestly to the question "how are you?" and got even more annoyed when he replied, "C' mon Nina, good vibes, good vibes only!". For a split second there, I felt I wanted to hit him with my board, but instead, I said "Yeah, tomorrow maybe" and walked away contemplating possible spots in the house where I could hang a punching bag. Because I obviously need it. And I miss Muay Thai.
Driving back to the house my friend's “good vibes only” comment was stuck on repeat in my head. He's a sweet guy and I know he meant well, but it got me thinking about how our first impulse when somebody is experiencing something we see as negative, is to try to ignore it, change it, or give unsolicited advice instead of accepting and giving space to experience it. Also, it doesn’t work; when someone is in a bad mood and you tell them come on, smile or something, it will probably only make it worse. And, why is it that the first thing we say to someone who is crying is - “don’t cry” even though crying is a great way to release excess energy and rebalance the system? I believe it’s for more reasons than one, and one being we are all conditioned that way, from our upbringing to social norms, we have been taught some emotions are good and some bad, and bad we need to ignore or fix. And this is something we really need to unlearn.
Nobody on this planet is always happy and in a good mood. We are all human beings with a rather large span of emotions. We can be happy, sad, angry, joyful, optimistic, pessimistic, jealous, positive, negative… This is what makes us human. Also, it is those 'bad' emotions; feeling of discomfort, anger, sadness, anxiety etc. which are trying to tell us something, and if we tune in, see and listen instead of ignore or fix, we might be one step closer to healing and integration.
I knew that the grumpiness I felt this morning, which in fact was anger, had nothing to do with the clouds, empty tank or choppy waves. Those little things, although annoying, only triggered something bigger and deeper. Knowing that, I wanted to see what it was so took my time with it and allowed myself to dwell in my grumpiness which turned into anger followed by helplessness, for as long as I needed to. I allowed the feelings to flood me, I tried to notice where I feel what in my body, tried to tune into where it comes from. It took a full day but, once I processed it, I felt lighter and freer, plus learned something about myself again.
We need learn how to allow ourselves (and others) to process things. With glorifying the 'good' and rejecting the 'bad' we don't allow ourselves to experience the reality of who and where we are. If we pretend we’re ok when we’re not, we block the flow of energy (which is what an emotion is), and blocked energy isn’t a good thing. We ignore the ‘bad’ for many reasons; we feel uncomfortable, it’s too painful, or we feel guilty because we believe we should count our blessings. Yes, maybe your life is great right now, but old wounds and traumas can come out anytime, and often when we least expect them. Putting a band-aid with happy thoughts and positive affirmations on top of an infected wound won’t help. If not properly treated, those wounds can and will get worse.
As I was writing this, my friend called me and we shared some thoughts about the subject. ”I think it’s the social media screwing with our heads” she said. “We all feel we need to be everything - beautiful, smart, well travelled, healthy and happy. If we’re not, we feel we have failed at life”. And I agree, but to an extent.
Before social media, we might have had a more realistic idea of what life is and of how people behave, feel, think. Because the only examples we had were real-life stories; our own, or those of people we know. In those good old days, it was only Hollywood’s happy ever after films messing with our heads (that’s why I prefer European cinematography, it’s much more realistic). Now we also have IG and FB images and stories of people we don't really know and their amazing high vibe lives enjoyed on different locations, their beautiful kids, pets, smiles, bodies and perfect relationships. Yes, both consciously and unconsciously, it can screw with our heads. But, we shouldn't blame each other for posting beautiful pictures and Good Vibes Only bumper stickers. Even in real life, we don't go around telling all of our friends about our pains and sorrows, about our financial struggles or relationship / marital problems. There are only a few close friends in my life with whom I feel I can share almost everything with. Why would any of us share all our life’s challenges with so many people we don't even know? So, I believe It is our own responsibility to be able to tell what’s real and what’s not and understand that we all have light and shadow, successes and struggles. (however, I believe children shouldn’t be on socials. If it affects us, I can’t imagine what it does to a child and they cannot reason the same way we do).
The truth is, we are all on the same boat, dealing with the same human experiences the best way we can. I have yet to meet an enlightened being who has it all figured out and always dwells in their higher, happy, kind and compassionate selves. It is a goal, yes, but in order to get there, we need to learn how to accept the dark and bring it to light. Face our wounds, traumas and impulses. Allow ourselves and others to be who and whatever we need to be, without taking it personally, without judgement or blame, but with love and kindness. Embracing the good vibes, and the bad ones too. All vibes are welcome.