It's OK to Feel Bad!
Sometimes, you blame yourself for feeling down or depressed. However, you don’t realize that, in some situations, it’s OK to feel bad.
Have you ever wondered what lies behind certain expressions such as “You look stupid when you cry”, “Men don’t cry”, or “Just cheer up”? These apparently innocent phrases are actually disguised forms of torture and reproach.
The people who say these things to you are telling you that there’s something wrong with the way you feel and that you shouldn’t be feeling that way. You shouldn’t feel sad after experiencing loss, they say. You shouldn’t feel angry after being betrayed. Really? Why shouldn’t you feel this way?
Recognizing all your emotions creates steps to climb towards self-awareness.
Why is it OK to feel bad?
We all go through good times and bad times. It’s part of your nature; change is part of the momentum of your life. In principle, there’s nothing bad about your moods fluctuating, contrary to what certain people and cultures say.
On many occasions, you feel bad, not only because of loss or betrayal or something similar but also because of the impotence that comes from not being able to shake yourself out of that state of mind. What you’ll often do it to direct all your anger towards yourself. In doing so, all you’re doing is making the wound deeper and more painful.
Thus, it’s OK to feel bad if:
- You want to express what you’re feeling.
- You want to communicate something about what you’re feeling.
- Something unpleasant happens to you.
- Something happens to someone close to you.
- You’re feeling unmotivated.
These are just a few examples. Actually, the important thing about emotions, when they come to the fore in your life, is that you accept them and listen to them. You should understand them as messengers and not as the bearers of bad news.
Feeling bad, beyond the suffering
When you start to see things from this perspective and understand that feeling bad is a great opportunity to learn, the intensity of the suffering will diminish. This doesn’t mean that you’ll automatically stop feeling bad. However, it does mean that you’ll start to distance yourself from suffering. Remember that suffering can often be a choice.
When you assimilate this, you’ll be able to start to make resilience one of your greatest virtues. You’ll be able to overcome your discomfort, find meaning in your life, and learn from each experience.
How to deal with feeling bad
There are several ways to deal with feeling bad. One good way is to start with a journey into the depths of your being. Self-knowledge is a powerful tool that enables you to know how you’re feeling and where you want to go.
Another way is to identify how you’re doing at an emotional level, and, after doing so, to start to set goals for yourself in being more assertive and choosing your coping strategies better. For example, if you know that you become irritable when you make mistakes, then you can start working on it. You can express your anger in a more controlled way, and not let it get out of control.
Ask for help
Another option is to ask for help from a psychologist or psychiatrist, for example. We all need support, and these professionals won’t only help you when you’re feeling down but they’ll also help you get the best out of you.
Something else you can do is get involved in activities that will help raise your spirits a bit. For example, doing physical exercise, painting, dancing, and spending time with those closest to you, among others.
The important thing is to find meaning in the path that you’re marking out for yourself. In that way, you’ll be able to bid farewell to suffering. Viktor Frankl, in his book Man’s Search for Meaning, talks about this in a shocking and wonderful account of his life experience.
In short, feeling bad is fine when you use the experiences to reach emotional acceptance. Leave space for your emotions to breathe and communicate their message to you. It may well be that someone has hurt you or that you really have suffered an important loss. However, these things will enter your life to give you the energy you need to reflect or act, and then they’ll leave you be.