A friend was recently dumped by a guy who she thought she’d marry.
Tears fell from her eyes like rain in the sky, and as I sat with her, I tried to comfort her by talking about the silver lining of her situation…
This is just freeing you up to meet the right guy!
You’re young and beautiful… I bet something is around the corner and that’s why this happened.
And then I stopped and realized how unproductive this was of me.
Because here’s what’s true…. When you’re sad, you’re sad. And grief has a way of catching you even when you run from it.
In a way, my well-intended comments were keeping her from what she really needed to do:
Cry. Grieve. Scream.
It was there in that moment that I realized that there’s an infection in the personal development industry—and it’s that everyone is telling us to be positive all the time.
Have you noticed yourself doing this?
(Don’t get me wrong… I love good juju.)
But when life hits you upside the head, it’s so important to allow yourself to feel what’s present. Or else, your pain becomes an exhausting undercurrent of your life. You cannot bypass pain, whether it’s in your career, your personal life, anywhere.
…And no, that doesn’t mean wallowing for days on end. But it does mean having a good cry when you need it, feeling your pain as it comes.
And in thinking about this, I changed my tone with my friend:
When you feel your pain come over you, don’t shut it out. Say hi to it. Let it know it’s welcome here. Tell it that you’re here and available for it. Love your pain. It’s your process and I don’t want to rob you the dignity of your process.
Don’t rob yourself the dignity of your process. Be where you are. Because if you won’t meet yourself there, who will?
And of course, after you’ve allowed that pain to hit you… There’s always some positivity around the corner.