A discussion on emotions, disposition, and really letting yourself feel your authentic feelings. It’s impossible to be happy and positive 100% of the time and we shouldn’t force ourselves to fake it if it’s not truly how we’re feeling.
I need to stay positive. There is so much to be thankful for in the world. My problems aren’t that bad and I shouldn’t worry this much.
Cannot show emotion right now! It’s a weakness and everyone around me seems so put together. Put on that brave face and SMILE.
I’m so drained mentally. I just don’t have the energy combat my negative thoughts today. But I have to! It’s not acceptable to be off my game.
Other people look to me as an example. I can’t let them down by giving into my feelings. Or worse, exposing my flaws.
How many of you out there have had internal dialogue like this before? A constant back and forth argument in your head, a moderation of your thoughts. Judging yourself for what you’re thinking and feeling. Comparing yourself to others and making yourself feel guilty for the things that pass thru your mind.
I think we’ve all been there. It’s one thing to try to reframe your thoughts, not get down on yourself, and to try to maintain a sense of optimism in everyday life. But it’s another thing entirely to beat yourself up for having real emotion and for letting yourself feel ALL the parts of your being.
Often times we focus on cutting ourselves some slack when it comes to things like diet and exercise. So many people preach balance….the 80/20 rule in particular. Basically, everything in moderation. You’re allowed to indulge, you’re allowed to skip a workout when you’re really not feeling it, and you’re allowed to strive for balance…not perfection. All that is great and people are making great strides to be more accepting of their physical health and choices. However, what about mental health? I propose that we should adopt a MENTAL 80/20 rule.
Let’s be honest, you’re not always going to feel on top the world, ready to tackle the day, or motivated to be ‘everything for everyone‘. Somedays you just need a mental health day. A vacation away from your busy mind, racing thoughts, and internal criticism.
So that’s why an 80/20 approach to your thought process could be really beneficial. We work on being kind to ourselves in other areas. So why not do it when it comes to our thoughts?
That’s what they are anyways…just thoughts. The only time they have power is when we dwell on them and react to them. Other than that they’re just fleeting ideas that can’t affect us unless we allow them to.
Negative emotions are useful! They keep us honest…they keep us REAL. It’s not realistic to strive to be happy all the time. It’s like striving for perfection. It just isn’t possible. Learning to sit with your emotions instead of pushing them away or judging yourself for them can make you grow as a person, be more authentic, and empathize with others on a deeper level.
So what does 80/20 for mental health look like?
Maybe it means staying in and skipping a party when you’re just not feeling to social. Other times it may mean pushing yourself to go because you know you’ll have a good time.
Maybe it means calling your mom and having a good cry. You’ll be stronger next time you have to be the listening ear for a friend who has to vent.
Maybe it means letting yourself feel anxious for a test or a dinner out. Next time those feelings will be able to get through because you endured them.
Maybe it means confronting someone who has harmed you in some way, instead of avoiding conflict. Your opinions, your perspectives…they matter.
Maybe it means not putting on a smile just to satisfy those around you. And sometimes it means shaking yourself out of funk by ‘faking it till you make it‘.
Our society emphasizes positivity to no end. We’re made to feel bad when we aren’t cheery 24/7. Well I am here to tell you, it’s okay. You have permission to feel down. You have permission feel your emotions. You have permission to be YOU. Every shade, every feeling, every inch of you.
Next time you’re starting to judge one of your thoughts, questioning whether it’s wrong or right, good or bad, STOP. And just let yourself be. I promise, allowing yourself that 20% wiggle room will make you that much happier the other 80% of the time.
So what are your thoughts?
Do you follow the 80/20 rule anywhere in your life?
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