As an empath and co-dependant type, this is something I work on regularly – I’m worlds better than I once was, and I’m able to hear this sentiment in my mind even during the toughest times. I’ve referred to this idea often because it’s juts so powerful. . .
I remember watching Labyrinth as a kid – you remember that film with David Bowie as the Goblin King, right? Yeah, that one. (Don’t judge!) Well, for whatever the reason, I always noted – rather firmly – the “you have no power over me” part (the phrase alluded to in my early post, as linked above.) It just stuck. That said, I didn’t really apply it to myself until many…many…moons later.
Today I find myself going back to the sentiment – OFTEN. As they say, everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. You never know what’s going on with someone else, and therefore cannot know the impetus behind their actions. The reactions others have are (truly) their own and what we see is not always an accurate reflection of the full picture. Because of this, it is important we remind ourselves that whatever negativity comes our way – no matter the form – it doesn’t have power over us unless we let it.
As human beings, we feel – for empaths, profoundly – and that’s okay. But we do have a choice about whether we go flying off the tracks in anger, sadness, hurt etc…based on the actions of others. We don’t HAVE to. Neither they, nor any other junky energy, need ruin a beautiful day, or change our positive approach – only we can decide that.
This article – Why “Be Positive” Isn’t the Best Advice When You’re Down, By Michael James – came to me via Tiny Buddha and I had to share.
To add a spoiler, I’m not necessarily backing up the article because I think meditation (specifically) is the end-all-be-all necessarily – phenomenal it can be, everyone is different, and meditation is both a highly individual, and incredibly varied practice. But I DO like a lot of what is said (and do like meditation personally), and I appreciate that Mr. James is willing to say “positivity” isn’t always what’s needed.
I’m a positive person but that does NOT mean:
- That I’m peachy 24 / 7
- That I don’t make judgements
- That I’m not an inherently flawed human being
Trust me, I am. I make mistakes ALL the time. I * try * to see sun and roses, but there’s plenty of rain and storm clouds too. While I’ve been mistaken as someone who presents only that happy image, I’ve never been anything but honest about the fact that I am as much a tempest as Mother Nature – some days you don’t know what you will get. I’ve felt badly enough about it in the past to land myself in some very abusive situations, but. . . While I have a long way to go, I no longer fundamentally think there’s something “wrong with” me because I feel so deeply.
As an Empath I respect this idea that some days the LAST thing you want to hear is “BE POSITIVE!” (*insert friend with annoyingly feigned smile here*) While of course I (and anyone who might chime in with the phrase) am *trying* to be helpful, it may not necessarily be the best default. . .
Sometimes you just don’t damn well feel like it, and that’s MORE than okay. I’ve had a problem with minimizing, justifying, and avoiding the act of “feeling” in the past – some days it’s more important to sit with the discomfort to get to the root of things.
Two of the things stood out most for me from the article:
“Like Instagram and other forms of social media, this “positive thinking” movement seems to be about living up to an ideal standard of perceived perfection all the time. Not satisfied with looking “perfect,” now you’ve got to think perfectly, too.”
True. Scary. Thank you for putting this solidly in verbal terms!
and. . .
“…authentic masters understood that negative thinking is part of the human journey, and that it’s okay to feel less than your best sometimes. And they also knew that it’s a quick route to self-hatred to expect any more of yourself.”
Thank you, again, for reminding that it’s okay to feel whatever emotions we feel. There is not right, and no wrong. We are allowed.
So yes. . .I love the designation of “professional cheerer-upper” that some friends and family have given me. I feel honored and blessed by the compliment – right or wrong, I identify with bringing joy to others. BUT… BUT. I’ve got my sad, grumpy, frustrated, gloomy, and altogether dark days too (article on that, by Madisyn Taylor.) I’ve had to do a TON of work to recognize that it is not only okay to feel those things…but also to not want to “be positive” for a time.
If all we ever saw was the sun (or that was all we were TOLD to see) then it wouldn’t be such a glorious thing, would it? There’d be no special positivity associated with its warmth or energy at all – so then what’s the point?
No….I’ll take some showers along the way, and expose my soul to the rain when I need to. Sometimes, that’s exactly what it needs – the positivity will find its way, not to worry.
Many years – moons ago, it seems – I was introduced to the concept of “mindfulness.” I’d been practicing mindfulness most of my life without realizing it…and I hadn’t realized, because I’d not always *quite* had the hang of it. Still, I was vastly more spiritual than I had words to explain, and my ever-wandering mind, and proclivity for all thing magical, led me – both knowingly and not – down the path.
After at least a decade and a half of Alexander Technique, Craniosacral and Somatic work, EMDR, Brainspotting, Martial Arts, and countless spiritual endeavors, I fumble a little bit less. . . But I’m still learning, and have leagues yet to go – lifetime pursuit, as so many things are.
But it isn’t required that we are necessarily graceful with it. Fluidity comes with consistency, and mindfulness is very much a way of life. It is therefore a quotidian ritual of sorts that we evolve with, and as a result of – to expect mastery instantly is almost an injustice, as the (sometimes clumsy!) journey is what facilitates learning at the deepest levels. It’s not unlike meditation – widely known to be a challenge at first – as it becomes smoother with time.
Life these days feels intensely hectic – I want to say more so than ever but I’ve only know this Earth, and time, for 38 years! The influx (and imposition – *cough* *cough* social media!) of technology has created a reality in which “connectivity” is at the ultimate high. 24/7, to be exact. There are many blessings born of such advances, but there are also massive changes afoot – ones which I daresay are reprogramming human beings at the most fundamental level.
We are all born with a magical capacity – ALL of us. We all have the ability to tap into the same natural resources that have allowed us to survive as a species from the beginning of time. But it feels frighteningly apparent that even children – generally more adept at awareness than overly-conditioned adults – are also losing the ability.
It isn’t just about looking down at a phone while crossing the street – awareness out the window and then some! It’s also in losing the ability to “read” others – the read the non-verbal cues, to FEEL, to SENSE… Children drown nearly as much in the virtual world these days, to the degree that even THEY don’t see the full picture anymore…
The good news? That extra-sensory ability never truly goes away. What’s happening is more that we are – byproduct of a civilized, modern society – conditioned OUT of our natural abilities. Our senses become duller because who needs to be aware of danger when getting dinner involves takeout, or benign shopping aisles?!
Oh, and that “6th” one? It gets completely shrouded by all the noise. Sadly, modern man somehow thinks a 6th sense is actually supernatural. Ever notice that animals have it? Right…well. . . *reminder* : we ARE animals. We have it too. Just —> noise, noise, noise!
The practice of mindfulness brings back the precise moment in time in which we find ourselves. For me, it is seeing each letter as I type my words, hearing myself speak them as they form, seeing the pause of my fingertips, hearing the music that is playing in the background…
Human beings have always projected ahead, and reflected on the past – for instance, planning a hunt to gather food, and drawing the hunt on the walls of a cave after the fact. But nowadays, that practice is so multi-fold that stress tends to weasel its way in to the process, leaving us frazzled and forgetful of the moment we are actually IN.
When we DO take a deep breath…and take the moment in…our heart rate actually slows down with us. Our very life force, how about that?
Mindfulness is the place in which perspective is purest, in which our emotions no longer control us (this is a wonderful practice for anger and the anxiety-prone), in which our innate magical abilities awaken.
It can have other great effects too – we might actually enjoy our food, eat less instead of devouring (I’m guilty of that!) It gives stress a swift kick for a time too (something we all need!) Mindfulness can catch us in the act of judging, or just before an argument that we needn’t have… It helps us to become better all around.
Mindfulness is like the free gift of wizardry! We have the power to create, to subdue, to awaken, to affect, to manifest, and to see. Our feelings are deeper, our heart unfolds, and suddenly. . ? It’s like we are truly alive.
At a time of the year when life is particularly stressful – and focused on the superficial in many ways – take a moment (or, better…SEVERAL) and relax into your breath.
The magic will do the rest.
I saw this some years ago – ever realize how true it is? You don’t have to wait for the coin to land to tap into what you feel…
So if you are stuck…feeling “unsure”…chances are you just need to flip a coin. The moment it takes flight, your gut will tell you exactly what you wanted to know (except maybe if you are faced with Havier Bardem. In that case, I’d just want to “call it” correctly!)