Why it’s okay to feel not okay
I know you were brought up hearing the same mantra from almost every grownup around you: «Be a good girl and everything will come to you», or «You are not supposed to feel jealous/angry/sad». Well, here comes science to liberate you once and for all: According to a study conducted by psychologists at Berkeley, forcing yourself to reject bad emotions can be really harmful. Published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the study looked at the mental well being of over 1,300 people, only to realize that negative emotions aren’t as bad as we believe them to be. In fact, the key to greater happiness is found in accepting the fact that you sometimes feel bad: “We found that people who habitually accept their negative emotions experience fewer of them, which adds up to better psychological health”, the authors say.
The best part isn’t about just accepting your bad emotions and letting them flow freely in you and around you. As the study points out, the trick is to not judge them. Result? You learn to live without the stress of hiding your true feelings, plus you finally get to really love all aspects of your existence. Win-win, right?
To top it all off, negative emotions have even been found to be beneficial in a variety of situations. If you don’t allow yourself to feel mad when someone isn’t treating you fair, how will you protect yourself? If you don’t allow yourself to feel jealous of your friend’s accomplishment, how will you get the drive to reach your own goals?
Embrace the bad and learn how to deal with it in a productive, positive way.
- Give yourself a few moments to acknowledge, accept and deal with a bad emotion, once it hits you. By focusing really hard on it for a little while, you will give it some space to settle and, finally, subside.
- If you feel bad about feeling bad, have you really done anything productive, at all? Get out of the vicious cycle and just let it go!
- Remember how good it felt when you were being mischievous, as a little girl? Recall the feeling and accept that you are both good and bad, kind and mean. You are a human.