My mantra of the day is “Positive emotions deserve my full attention“. And I feel like that is a topic worth speaking about because although it seems obvious, I bet most of us do not really grasp what it exactly means.
As someone who makes great effort to break negative thinking patterns the concept of training one’s brain to think more positive is not new. I have been acknowledging times I felt good and definitely paid more attention to those moments than in the past.
But today’s topic is not actually about the concept of “just thinking more positive”, but taking it a step further. Because I realized that the range of emotions that I can actively name is not only really small, but the range of positive emotions is even smaller than the one of negative emotions. Meaning I can differentiate several negative emotions such as disappointment, sadness, loneliness, emptiness, anger, anxiety, and so on, but when it comes to positive emotions the only things I can on the spot think about are happy and excited.
The problem here is that using the word “happy” is scary. Because at least I personally associate with that a really strong emotion and therefore it is a word that I do not use lightly. Which in fact makes sense as it is proven that moments of happiness as we know them are rare since we have a limited amount of Serotonin and other hormones (which make us happy) that can be “used up” over a span of time. This means if you have a low Serotonin level you probably will “use it up” sooner (especially during spikes of utter happiness) and need more time to “fill up” the reserve in your brain, causing a “low” in you mood. Good example: the bad mood after taking drugs (especially strong ones, obviously, but also the more “normal” ones like alcohol), which comes from increased “usage” of “positive” hormones in your brain.
(I AM SORRY, I AM NO BIOLOGIST BUT YOU CAN RESEARCH IT IF YOU WANT MORE “INTELLIGENT” INSIGHT ON THAT.)
But. Good news. Happiness, as we romanticize, is not the only positive emotion that exists, and hopefully, after reading this post, not the only emotion we want to feel. AND.. they probably take less effort and energy from you. Because being upbeat, active, and excited all the time is a) really unbalanced, b) probably fake and c) something that is not easy to maintain without getting crazy.
So I made a list of positive emotions.. to read if you have a bad day (to hopefully make you take a more optimistic stance on feeling better soon since the bar is not set as high anymore) or to be able to acknowledge the different emotions between the extremes complete sadness or happiness and maybe even realize that you feel good more often than you think.
A quote that really matches today’s topic is this one by Chuck Palahniuk:
It’s so hard to forget pain, but it’s even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show from happiness. We learn so little from peace.
Being less negative requires to actively search for the good things in life even if it seems like there are not any until it becomes easier and easier to think “positive”.
And always remember:
The antidote to negativity is not positivity, it is warmth. Positivity tells you there is no reason to be sad. Warmth asks if you want to go get some ice cream.
Emotions, no matter which ones, deserve to be felt and acknowledged. But we forget to not only give room to negative emotions, but also good/ positive ones.
things I currently watch/ read and inspire myself with whilst working on my traumas and other mental health issues
Your life is run by emotions, whether you repress and ignore them or not
Love is really strong medicine, if not even the strongest, especially for when you are dealing with trauma, but also with any other mental health issues. I realized that I myself have received little to no love and support at a time in my life when I really needed it, but also didn’t have the “courage” to ask for it, which is really typical for people with PTSD. So the first step for me when diving into my trauma was the realization that I long for love SO much. And it took me a couple days to get over the feelings that it brought with it. Allow yourself to realize you, lack love, admit you want to love and be loved, and most importantly: begin to work on loving yourself.
I learned that people with PTSD have really low self-esteem and feeling of self worth which makes it particularly hard to receive and feel love.
A phrase that I have written down for myself was “I am SO sorry that you have felt and feel this way”, because that is something people with PTSD have to hear, as they need someone who is really, really sorry for them. Who gives them a hug and acknowledges and respects the pain they feel. For me, I am in a place where there is no one who could do that so self-love is really important as you are the only person you can ALWAYS rely on and who loves you and cares for you at any time of the day.
Only when we being to love ourselves we begin to accept love from others. We also begin to accept success and failure, both things often holding people with PTSD back from even trying things as they are to scared to lose a thing once they gained it or not succeeding at even trying to get that thing.
Self awareness and self worth
I started to properly journal this year. I have had journals before, the ones where you kind of make them look cute and aesthetically pleasing, write little notes and quotes in them and glue in pictures and cinema/ concert tickets. And to be honest I did not have the intention of stopping to do that as I find it a really nice way to spend time and be creative without much effort. But as I started working on myself and my feelings my journal became messier and fuller and generally felt too small as I actually started writing down my feelings and figuring out why I felt this way and how I can cope with it in a healthy way and most importantly accept and let go of it. And even if you are someone like me who likes to keep cute bullet journals and stuff I figured that it makes sense for me to not pay attention to aesthetics, at least for my diary kind of journal. Because if you try to make your feelings “aesthetically pleasing” you tend to be dishonest with yourself as healing is NOT pretty. This year I am exploring the really ugly sides of myself that you just cannot make look good in a journal. So having a messy journal even helps me visualize the process I am going through and reminding myself that it is not going to end soon nor be pretty for the next month to come.
That might to be true for everyone but I find it important to still mention it as we do live in a digital age where Instagram aesthetics and glorifying depression, anxiety and other mental health issues are still a huge thing and people who are in the process of healing, especially at the very beginning, have to remind themselves that depression is NOT being a little sad or these artsy quotes about smiling although you are breaking inside. Although some of those posts do in fact represent someone expressing their feelings we have to be aware that aspects such as not being able to get out of bed, not showering for days or weeks, generally not caring for yourself and even wanting to die so bad are ugly aspects of depression which are not being represented the way they really are on the internet.
So remember: Healing is a partially really ugly and hurtful process.
HOWEVER. There are many resources on the internet that you can use for help when dealing with mental health issues which is something we know but often forget. I, for example, started crying at the realization that I am not alone and there are people on the internet who want to help. Listening to someone with compassion and love in their voice because they know how much someone in that situation is hurting is really nice, because although that particular person does not know you and your situation they still tried to put out a video, post, podcast, etc. to help people like you.
You live in a world where the frist words your soulmate says to you appear on your skin. Your words are “Hey you dropped your phone”. However, you are a baker in ancient greece, and have no idea what a phone is.
There’s a reason I don’t celebrate my birthday
Is it because you’re so old you don’t even remember when it was ?
No. It’s just impractical to put 5 million candles on a cake and it’s all or nothing for me
… you say impractical but not impossible
So sick and tired of being alone. I’m sorry mom I’ve got to go. I dug this grave I call my home.
Ich habe mich hingesetzt und geschrieben. Das ich mich nicht hasse. Dafür kenne ich mich zu lange. Wie alte Freunde es nun mal tun. Sie sehen über das hässliche hinweg. Ich halte meine Gegenwart gut aus.
Aber ich schrieb das ich gerne anders wäre.
Ruhiger. Ausgeglichener. Liebevoller. Verständnisvoller. Offener. Netter. Optimistischer. Freundlicher.
Aber auch schlauer. Begabter.
Ich wünschte ich wäre weniger wütend. unruhig. egoistisch.
Aber: Ich hasse mich nicht. Ich leide unter meinen Gefühlen. Aber ich hasse mich nicht.
Und genau darauf kommt es an.
Das ich mir verzeihe. Das ich zugebe das ich so bin. Mich entschuldige. Niederlagen eingestehe und mich sogar manchmal zurück halte. Ich mache das Besser als vor einem Jahr.
Und im Kern bin ich doch gut. Nur gute Menschen machen sich Sorgen ob sie gut sind.
Das letzte Jahr erinnert mich an Fausts Entgrenzungsversuche. Selbstmord. Drogen. Hexerei.
Ich bin wahrscheinlich nicht die einzige die versucht etwas in sich zu töten. Ein Gefühl ? Ein Teil meines Charakters ? der Seele ? Mich ?
Ich will leben.
So richtig. Zwischen Menschen sein. Menschen die tanzen und singen. Das Leben voll leben. Pulsierendes Leben.
Um das Leben zu genießen muss man verstehen das sich das Leben meist mit dem Element Erde beschreibt.
Ich bin eher Luft. Losgelöst von allem. Mit dem Wunsch zu fliegen. Mit dem Kopf in den Wolken.
Leben ist schwer. Leben ist Fallen. Leben bedeutet Enttäuschung, Wut und Ekel.
Und Mensch sein ist nicht schön. Menschen sind hässlich. Menschen sind nervig. betrunken. egoistisch. Lügner. Schläger. Vergewaltiger. Mörder. Suizidal. Depressiv. Wütend. Peinlich.
Mutter Theresa wäre nichts besonderes wenn wir nicht so wären.
Ein guter Mensch bedeutet nicht unfehlbar zu sein. Es bedeutet jeden Tag das Beste zu geben und nicht aufzugeben. Jeden Tag etwas besser werden.
Und sich selbst zu verzeihen.
Ich sollte das alles aufschreiben.
Weil sich vielleicht mehr Menschen so fühlen. In ständiger Zerrissenheit zwischen Himmel und Erde. Auf ständiger Suche.
Oder es gibt nur mich.
In beiden Fällen sollten Menschen das hier lesen.
Die menschliche Seele ist auf ihre Art und Weise schön.
Und komplett hässlich.
Sich ihr Näher zu fühlen hilft. Zu wissen das sie sich zusammensetzt aus Teilen unserer Eltern, dem Kuscheltier das wir als Kind hatten, unserem ersten Lieblingsbuch, diesem einen Lied, dem einen Mal mit 11 als wir uns so grundlegend ungerecht behandelt fühlten, dem Geruch nach Zuhause, dem ersten Herzschmerz.
Wir sind nur Energie.
Und ich würde am Liebsten aus der Haut fahren.