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Be.

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inside-out

Everyone knows the popular song by Bobby McFerrin, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” It’s catchy and nostalgic for many of us, but does it have a good message?

Ain’t got no place to lay your head.

Somebody came and took your bed.

Don’t worry. Be happy.

Sorry, Bobby, but if someone takes my bed, I’m not happy, I’m tired.

Don’t be sad!

Don’t be scared!

Don’t be mad!

Correction: BE sad. BE scared. BE mad. Just BE. Why? Because it’s what you’re feeling. To negate your feelings is to suppress them. To suppress them is to tell yourself you are WRONG to feel them. When you control your emotions, you add on unnecessary years and stress.

I cringe when I hear anyone in or out of the mental health field talk about transforming negative emotions into positive ones. And really, people make a living off that message. We live in a “Don’t be sad!” society, and it’s negatively affecting our mental and physical health.

Look at it this way:

PAIN + RESISTANCE = SUFFERING

And so . . .

FEAR + RESISTANCE = PHOBIA

GRIEF AND/OR SADNESS + RESISTANCE = DEPRESSION

ATTRACTION + RESISTANCE = SEXUAL COMPULSION

ANGER AND/OR AGGRESSION + RESISTANCE = COMPULSIVE ANGER

It’s important to note: I am not talking about behaviors here, but rather feelings.

When you resist your natural feelings, you suffer.

Instead of striving to be happy, strive to be healthy. As my therapist says, “I’m not here to make you feel better. I’m here to make you better feel.”

How exactly does one shift their thinking like that? It starts with simply noting your feelings. Do you feel angry? So be it. Do you feel jealous? So be it. Do you have the sudden urge to laugh at a funeral? So be it.

As Aristotle didn’t say, “I am, therefore I think.”

By noting your feelings, you will begin to accept them. Does this mean you need to enjoy all of your emotions? Absolutely not. No one wants to feel sad. But by noting our sadness, we loosen the tight grip we have it.

Take a look at the history of colonization. What happens when one group of people forces their culture on that of another group? Inevitably, chaos, violence, and war ensue. The same is true for us when we colonize our emotions.

Happiness will come and go, but true happiness comes when we allow it to do so naturally.

I think the Beatles got it right . . .

When the broken-hearted people

Living in the world agree

There will be an answer, let it be

For though they may be parted

There is still a chance that they will see

There will be an answer, let it be

Your turn! What are your thoughts on mental health and dealing with your feelings? Leave a comment here, tweet me, or Facebook me!