“Wholeness is not achieved by cutting off a portion of one’s being, but by integration of the contraries.”– C. G. Jung
I’ve received messages from friends and have read posts and articles online over the past few days that have been extremely helpful. Because despite all of the “in this together”, “hope for the best”, “keep your chin up”, and “everything happens for a reason” idioms floating around, I’ve still found myself heavy with emotions. Even my dreams are full of loss and sadness for the world from the constant stream of news and collective feelings emanating daily through various mediums.
Yes, these are hard times. Beyond-tough times. I think you’d have to be a sociopath not to feel that. And while it’s helpful to be positive and not get caught up in the negative or depressing bits from moment’s news and social media, it’s completely okay to feel angry, worried, sad – and not have to hide it. Now this doesn’t mean we have license to go around yelling or acting out because of these feelings. That’s never okay. But it IS okay to feel these feelings, to sit with these emotions, and not feel shame or embarrassment for doing so.
And no one should ever tell you not to – or to “just put on a happy face” – or to “think positive”.
Feeling sad or wanting to express the anguish you feel inside is never a sign of weakness or that you’re not a “team player”. It simply means you’re being honest with your feelings and allowing them to rise to the surface so they don’t sit inside of you and grow bigger unnecessarily. You’re allowing those feelings to be purged, to be cleansed, when you allow yourself to feel them.
In fact, there is such a thing as toxic positivity.
Toxic positivity is the excessive and ineffective overgeneralization of a happy and optimistic state in any situation – in the denial, minimization, and invalidation of genuine human emotional experience. When a person exhibits toxic positivity, they deny any and all negative experiences that make us human and lives their life this way.
Imagine sitting with a 1000-piece puzzle, all undone in front of you on the table. You work diligently putting it together, piece-by-piece for hours, only to realize a few pieces are missing… It doesn’t look quite the same as a finished picture puzzle looks, does it?
When you’re in the moment spending time putting that puzzle together, you are actually taking each unique, individual piece and integrating it into one big picture. To integrate means to make whole. The word integrity means wholeness. It also means the quality of being honest. You see, we can’t be whole human beings without being completely honest about who we are and how we feel. So when you are hiding or ignoring something you’re experiencing, whether thoughts or emotions for whatever reason, you’re compromising the integrity of your humanness. You’re not allowing yourself to be completely human. You’re not letting every facet of your soul be.
Letting every bit of our soul simply be as it is is essential for us to be whole. To feel alive. It is ever-so-important to be honest with yourself and allow all of your pieces to integrate into the beautifully human being you are, complete with an array of emotions and thoughts. When you are hiding a piece or being dis-engaged with any side of you, you are being dishonest with yourself – and therefore, will most likely feel incomplete. Your puzzle will look just like the one on the table with holes in it, places where pieces should fit but are missing.
So in honor of your integrity and those around you, let every piece of you come together, let every facet of your self see the light and breathe. Even if it’s difficult, even if the emotions you’re feeling are tough to sit with … it’s okay. It’s who you are and what you’re feeling. And that is always okay.
It’s important to have faith and hope that all will be alright during these very tough times. But it’s equally important to ground those hopes and faithful beliefs in sincerity and reality. Keeping our heads in the sand or turning a blind eye won’t make anything better. We must face strong winds head-on, even though these winds may be stronger than you think or could ever imagine.
Storms don’t last forever. But it is okay to feel worn-down and sad at their destruction.
Sending love, my friends. Stay well. We will get through this.