When the world is cruel, be kind to yourself
We all go through some bad days. When it happens, far too often we refuse to allow ourselves some down time. We beat ourselves up for having emotions, and think that the only way to display strength is to shut out our feelings and pretend like nothing happened.
Why do we do this to ourselves?
Every one of us have experienced one kind of problem or another—be it in our studies, work, relationships or anything else. Some of us are so hardened to these situations that we no longer cry, complain or even express sadness to our loved ones. We even refuse to acknowledge that we are legitimately upset.
Why do we conflate emotional shutdowns with strength and maturity? Could it be that when we deny our emotions, we are merely running away from reality, and refusing to acknowledge our humanity?
I recently saw a video on ET Today. A martial arts coach is teaching his student to break wooden planks. The young student was so afraid that he could not hit hard, and ended up crying. When asked why was he crying, he said its because he’s not confident enough to break the wooden plank.
The coach allowed the student to cry, and then he told the boy: “I would not stop you from crying, because I do that too. But I want to tell you that life is full of obstacles, and we have to face them no matter what. We might shy away from challenges because we are afraid of getting hurt, but we can’t allow ourselves to do that. In the end, we need to man up and fight.”
I was very moved by the video. The coach wasn’t only teaching the boy about martial arts. He was giving him a valuable life lesson. Just like the coach said, no one can stop you from crying or feeling upset. You could very well talk about your feelings, allow yourself some space to recover.
Don’t trick yourself into thinking that denial is a solution. Time never really does heal anything unless you are willing to face the problem up front.
Therefore, go ahead and own your emotions—the good, the bad and the ugly.
When you’re done, remember to pick yourself up and move on. Tomorrow is a new day, and you can get back on track being your amazing self.