Good vibes only? I’m not so sure about that one.
I consider myself a pretty positive, optimistic person by nature. I tend to not even consider half empty or half full, instead hovering over a space of gratitude for having a beautiful glass in the first place. It is in my nature to find the good in others, and I do truly love my Life. Beyond measure.
So, it makes sense this would be the perfect mantra for me…Good Vibes Only!, right?
Wrong. It worries me. Actually, it makes me scared and sad.
I could do Good Vibes Usually , or even Good Vibes Are Fun!
But what I really relate most to is REAL Vibes Only!
I struggle with the division of our emotions and moods into Good and Bad columns. Here’s the thing…emotions are neutral. Emotions, by nature, are what they are. Anger is anger, joy is joy. While most of us tend to be far more comfortable with some over others, we do ourselves a huge disservice (and may I venture as far as to say a danger?) when we categorize them into good or bad.
We all do it.
Anger = bad
Irritation = bad
Sorrow = bad
For years I’ve worked with children with significant social and emotional challenges, and this is one of the greatest mindsets to overcome. There is an astonishingly rapid connection between, ‘If I feel a ‘bad’ emotion then I must be a ‘bad’ person. Something is wrong with me. I need to be better.”
I’m pretty sure even the most pious or Zen among us is angry or irritated at least once a day. I pray each of us feels joy or silliness at least once a day. And yet, the only ones we share are the “good ones”. If you question that, just check out Facebook or Instagram.
Life isn’t just good. Life isn’t just bad. Actually, Life pretty much just is what it is, which is a dizzying, swirling hurricane of every possible emotion. When we condition ourselves to only acknowledge or share the good ones we essentially shut down/shutter up very real aspects of lives, of our true selves. And when we batten down the hatches of our hearts and minds to those “bad” emotions, we are essentially closing them in. Think about that. Shutting down emotions, locking them inside, is like feeling ashamed for being human.
I love people fiercely. I tend to go “all in” . And because of that, I don’t just want to talk about the happy stuff, the good stuff, I don’t only want that side to shine.
I LOVE when people are raw and honest…I’m having a hard day. I’m feeling slow, sluggish, sad. Today was a tough day.
How often, when someone shares a challenging emotion with us, do we rush in to offer advice, to try to “fix” it for them, to raise their spirit? Our intention is sincere: to show love, support and encouragement. And yet our uninvited fixing advice sends a very clear message….where you are isn’t okay, and you need to find an exit strategy FAST!
What if our offer of a quick “fix” actually makes our loved one feel quilt or shame for his or her current state, as if grief, fatigue, discouragement are not legitimate places on their own?
And honestly, how many times do we offer snippets of off-the-cuff advice because we, ourselves, are uncomfortable with our loved one’s pain?
Sitting with a loved one’s pain, grief, frustration, irritation or general foul mood is tough. We want to help and we associate helping with solving.
But I wonder what could happen if we could learn to just hang with people right where they are.
Today is a rough day for you?
I hate that.
Can I just sit with you for a bit?
How can I best support you?
Is there anything you need?
Or simply, I love you.
What I want most is REAL communion with God, Life, loved ones. Not only the “good vibes”, but ALL the messy, chaotic, scratchy vibes that make up REAL Life.
And to get those Real Vibes Only relationships, I need to learn to sit with the tough stuff, both mine and other’s, remembering that sitting in solidarity of love is better than any “quick fix” I can fling off quickly.
Holding space for Real Vibes Only is, perhaps, one of the greatest acts of love we can offer one another.