One often thinks that in order to be a good person, you should be in the cheering up business. If you see someone you love feeling sad, you instantly want to cheer them up. This is a great sentiment, and I personally will never fault anyone for doing so. But the truth of the matter is, sometimes...you just feel bad. Whether you should or not doesn't always dictate what your heart wants to feel at that particular moment. So why do we think we should always be happy?
I'm here to tell you that feeling bad is not actually bad. It's a normal part of being a human being, and it's actually beneficial. According to Dr. Oz, grief of any level is a natural response that helps us adapt to major losses. Temporary unhappiness can also serve as a "beacon to spur positive change". It is believed that depression likely evolved in the first place to help us cope with environments that are unsatisfying or even harmful. Also, feeling down can actually be a signal that it's time to reevaluate what's happening in our lives. (Dr. Oz, O magazine; February, 2010)
Now don't get me wrong. It is still beneficial to channel positive thoughts in bad times as well. There is a lot research out there that supports the idea that people who channel positive emotions generally deal with adversity better. Sometimes it is all about perspective.
I am not a fan, however, of the "it can always be worse" mantra. God only knows who's at the end of that line and what their situation is; if it can always be worse for everyone, what does the worst look like?!?! And I don't know about you, but it never actually makes me feel better. Now on top of feeling guilty for feeling bad, I feel bad for those who are worse off. The bottom line is allowing yourself to emote naturally should never equate to you being ungrateful. We all know what ungrateful looks like, and it is so different than someone expressing natural emotion.
If you're having a bad day and you're feeling emotional, ride it out. Try this mantra: allow yourself to feel, then deal. Don't force anything on yourself that you aren't ready to accept and work through. I'm not saying wallow in your own self-pity for long periods of time. But feelings are powerful, and if they were as readily interchangeable as people think they are, the world would be a very different place. Just something to think about.