VOS: It’s Ok Not to Be Ok: Allowing Yourself to Be in a Bad Mood

It’s Ok Not to Be Ok: Allowing Yourself to Be in a Bad Mood

Emotional wellbeing

June 2023

It’s Ok Not to Be Ok: Allowing Yourself to Be in a Bad Mood

Do you ever feel the pressure to constantly put on a happy face, work at full capacity, and never complain? How often do you respond to the question, "How are you?" with a forced "I'm fine" when deep down, you're not? I can relate. People know me as someone who smiles a lot. I used to feel the pressure to always be full of optimism, but over time, I realized the importance of allowing myself to experience the full range of emotions. On my mental health journey, I discovered that it's okay to acknowledge and embrace all my feelings, not just the positive ones. And you know what? I'm happier now, because when I smile, it's for myself, not for others.

In Good and Bad Times:

For the longest time, I couldn't bring myself to cry. There were moments of both joy and sadness in my life, but I suppressed my tears. During a difficult breakup, I busied myself to avoid facing my emotions head-on. Paradoxically, the more I ran from my negative feelings, the less I could genuinely appreciate the positive moments. It was only when I allowed myself to pause, acknowledge my sadness, and give myself time to process it that I finally began to heal.

It's What Makes Us Human:

Feeling sad, angry, anxious, or lonely is a natural part of the human experience. It's important to remind ourselves that these emotions arise because we care, because we try, and because we are alive. In fact, some children's fairy tales are wise enough to teach this lesson. As Winnie the Pooh once said,"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."

The Non-Judgmental Approach:

Perhaps you've encountered the non-judgmental approach to observing emotions through practices like yoga, meditation, or psychological content on social media. However, even this approach can sometimes pressure us to quickly let go of heavy emotions and focus solely on gratitude. While it's true that everything eventually passes, we shouldn't rush ourselves to let go too soon. Instead, we should first honor our emotions by acknowledging and truly feeling them. When sadness overwhelms you, let the tears flow. When anger builds up, find a healthy outlet to express it. And when the time is right, you can let go.

Facing the Demons:

There's no escaping the complex emotions that dwell within us. But we need not face them alone. It takes courage to confront our demons, yet our emotions are what give life depth and meaning. Remember, you don't have to bear the burden by yourself. Share it with trusted loved ones. Seek support from a good therapist to process the old wounds and create new healthy emotional habits. At VOS, our mental health counselors are here to offer guidance through the darkest days.

And remember, it's okay not to feel ok all the time, because true happiness comes from embracing the entirety of our human experience.

This article was written by Barbora Kuta, a VOS science manager, yoga and meditation instructor, a crises interventionist and psychologist-to-be.

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