Get Real About Joy
Updated: Apr 23
"Sometimes the things we can't change end up changing us." Unknown
People who are going through a happy season of life or refuse to confront the negative aspects of life, may feel the need to give anyone who expresses a negative opinion the advice, "Quit being so negative!" After all, no one likes to be around someone who always sees the problem, not the solution. If that same person said, "Just be fake happy!" everyone would recognize it as horrible advice.
Why is it so common to be shamed for having a real, negative emotion these days? Acting as if life is all positive is a form of denial, but that doesn't mean we can't find joy beyond negative circumstances. We need to do ourselves a favor, and get real. Even though we can be thankful for every moment of life, it won't always be full of joy. Life is guaranteed to create a full spectrum of emotions. If we can learn to understand, manage and learn from our negative emotions and circumstances, we can live a healthier and more joyful life.
Embracing the Negative Has a Positive Impact
Having a healthy physical and emotional life requires knowing ourselves, what is good for our physical, mental and emotional well-being and refusing to be swayed to the contrary. The negative emotions that come along with oppression, whether it be from a person or an organization, need to be managed in order to maintain our health and livelihood. Elizabeth Scott gives some great advice on embracing and managing negative emotions in her blog post, How Negative Emotions Affect Us. "Anger, fear, resentment, frustration, and anxiety are emotional states that many people experience regularly but try to avoid." It's understandable that people want to avoid these uncomfortable emotions, but they are often stress signals pointing to a problem that needs to be changed.
She goes on to say, "Anger and anxiety, for example, show that something needs to change, and perhaps that our well-being has been threatened. Fear is an appeal to increase your level of safety. Resentment motivates us to change something in a relationship. Frustration does as well. Basically, negative emotions are there to alert us that something needs to change and to motivate us to make that change. Unchecked optimism, however, can lead to unrealistic expectations and even dangerous risks that can lead to loss and all of the negative feelings that can come with it. More uncomfortable emotional states like anxiety, however, can lead to motivation to make changes that can create more success and avoid danger."
"If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got." Henry Ford
In difficult times, seeking the truth, knowing the truth and standing for the truth always makes a difficult situation more manageable. Fake and unchecked optimism is not truth. Knowing the truth is the only thing that will make us free - free from the torment of oppression, shame and the confusion that comes along with it. It's our God-given right to pursue truth, liberty, happiness and health.
What else can we do but change when negative circumstances make life stressful? The time of change itself probably won't be pleasant while going through the problem, but it's comforting to know when the difficult season has passed, it will usually lead to a better life.
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