Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Can't Be Positive All the Time - Although It Is My Preferred State of Being

People who read my blog regularly would generally agree that I am a positive person - mostly looking at the bright side of things.

A person that I don't know (but whose brother I do know and really like and respect) commented on my first post yesterday (about my anxiety and worry) to "stay positive". I will admit that it hit a raw nerve because I was, in fact, not feeling positive yesterday. I realized, though, that she was well-intended, so I can't get too angry or upset at her comment.

I can, however, respond in a way to help others reading my blog about how to respond to my posts that are less than positive.

Barbara Ehrenreich (who wrote "Nickle and Dimed" recently released a book called "Bright-Sided: How the Relentless of Positive Thinking has Undermined America". I will admit to not reading the book, but perhaps I shall. I think, though, that perhaps she has a point. This relentless to "stay positive" all the time forces people like me to mask any negative feelings we might be having - to put on a happy face to make it easier for other people and ignore our own needs.

Without having read the book, my guess is that Ehrenreich might be saying the same thing - as a society, we walk around in public as if everything is okay, when in fact it isn't and that forces our society not to address some really pressing needs or even to ask for help when we need it. It also forces us to pretend as if there is nothing wrong.

My acupuncturist, though, has long told me that I should, in fact, express my emotions whenever I have them and not bottle them up inside. Three years ago, I broke a bunch of plates (and had acupuncture and reiki) to release a lot of deep-seated and long-held anger - from hurts long long ago. I had repressed that anger and needed to let it out. Repressing it leads to dis-ease because you are not acknowledging it and pretending that all is well when in fact it isn't.

So, since then, I've become better at expressing my negative feelings when I have them. I don't want to hold on to them. They need to be released. Writing about them helps me release them so that they don't stay in my body. I need to express those negative feelings. Once I release it and then figure out ways to address whatever is making me anxious or worry or depressed, I feel more in control of the situation. And, that makes me feel better.

Your task, as readers of my blog, is not to try to fix me. Rather, it is to continue to offer support as you all do, and to acknowledge that there will be days when I am not my usual, sunny, positive self. And, that's okay. I can't always pretend that all is well with me all the time. In fact, there is a lot that is kinda crappy. I don't tend to dwell on it because it is what it is. I do as much as I can - and get the help of my medical care providers - to make whatever it is better. But it's a slow process.

So, continue to send me your positive energy, prayers, blessings, etc., because it does help. But please please, don't tell me how to feel or give me commands (i.e., "stay positive"). Everyone, and I mean, EVERYONE, feels negative feelings. Don't repress them. Express them. Get them out of your system and don't hold on to it. Once you do, it's easier to get back into a positive state of thinking. I know, myself, that I have a choice about how I feel. I generally choose to be happy. But there are times that I am worried or anxious or down. I am entitled to those feelings when they happen and I will continue to express those feelings.

I know the power of positive thinking. I have said before and will say again, that I don't believe cancer will survive long in a happy body. You other cancer survivors, you know how I feel; just acknowledging that you do understand helps me in a lot of ways. I appreciate that support and understanding, in the good days and the bad. I LIKE being happy and will do whatever I can to turn around the negative feelings, but I will have those, too. I have strategies to turn those negative feelings around quicker. I do that because it helps me, not because it helps you. I'd rather be happy. But there are times when I'm not and you, as readers, have to accept that, too.

Thank you for your continued support! Keep sending the happy vibes! : )


Joanna said...

Hi Dee,

You have to feel what you are feeling and express what you are feeling. You have an innate sense of always looking for the positive, but there is a limit to positivity. I hope you will continue to express your genuine emotions.
I will be channeling healing thoughts for your upcoming surgery.

Dee said...

Joanna, I knew you would understand. Thank you so much and for continuing to send me good energy! Hugs to you!