Is ‘being nice’ nice to yourself?

🗣️“Why are you being so negative?”
🗣️“Just be grateful!”
🗣️“Put a smile on that face, you look so sad!”
🗣️“You’re so angry, calm down!”
🗣️“Don’t worry, be happy!”
I bet you’ve heard at least one of these “friendly” pieces of advice in your lifetime, especially when some unwelcomed guests were trying to visit you: Rage, Anger, Frustration, Irritation, Despair, Confusion, or Sadness. The “Negative” Emotions Gang. 😡 I had at least three of them visiting me recently at a business retreat where the glamorous way in which the project was presented and the disappointing and ridiculous reality managed to spilt the group in two: the “just be grateful” ones 😻 & the “always negative” ones. 😾
Since childhood, we are made to believe that if we express openly and loudly our difficult emotions, something is wrong with us. We are not capable of looking at the bright side of things, we are not grateful for what we have, or we simply can’t see the silver lining (there must always be one, right?!). 🌤️
But isn’t the world a mix of black AND white? Positive AND negative? Why can’t we just accept this space of non-duality? ◼️◻️
There is a massive difference between suppressing and converting these so called “negative” emotions. For example, rage and anger can be useful drivers when you speak your inner truth. They make you act. 🏃🏻‍♀️ They are life-in-motion, paving the path to finding solutions in real time, transforming your despair into motivation.
🤷🏻‍♀️ The reasons why many of us choose not to show them can be:
– fear of having an open conflict, fear of the “darkness”
– the cultural factor: you are used to “obey”, and not question authorities
– perfectionism bias
– it’s easier to play the victim role
– a deep guilt for feeling what you feel
– a sense of shame, the desire to hide a part of your Self
– the obsession to belong, to be accepted by the group
– the habit of playing the “be nice” card
– a lack of awareness of real needs
📗 “Being positive has become a new form of moral correctness,” says psychologist Susan David, author of Emotional Agility. David thinks that turning our backs away from discomfort is neither healthy nor helpful: “what happens is, it undermines our ability to deal with the world as it is, not as we wish it to be. Instead of saying: I am angry, we should say: I’m noticing that I’m feeling sad, I’m noticing the urge to leave the room. This allows you to bring your values and your intentions forward.” ➡️
What we could do when the ‘Negative Emotions Gang’ is knocking on our door is to ask them questions: “Why are you here?”, “What do I need right now to feel a bit better”? The answers will come: food, sleep, rest, sunlight, friendship, love. 🫶🏻
The sweet spot between positivity and negativity is a healthy dose of realism and a sense of context. We need consciousness and self-awareness, otherwise these hard to digest feelings will lead to destruction, not construction.
❤️‍🩹 Being an aligned human being means being aware of your needs and showing up as your true self in the world. It’s about stepping out of a monochromatic mindset – black or white, and embracing all the colors, nuances, emotions life has to offer. Uncomfortable feelings are also part of the deal we have with life. 🆓

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