Someone asked me recently if I'd rather have a good life or a full life. I said a full life, mostly because I knew it was the less popular answer and I typically go against the grain just to see what happens.
She responded enthused, "Good answer, most people say the opposite."
To be fair, once she explained what I was agreeing to, I did agree from a much more genuine level. You know as opposed to being ruled by my natural defiance. A good life sounds nice, but a full life sounds interesting.
Instead of floating on a breeze, I'll be dealing with problems, learning new things, and the growing ability to help others. All these things bloom out of challenge.
You know what else is a big part of living fully? Negativity. Yup.
Someone who's not there yet will have an opinion. You'll lose your temper. You'll be unkind and someone will be unkind to you and this whole big mess will jumble up your head into thinking, it should've been another way. We don't seem to remember, if it happened again tomorrow, this time we'd know what to do, because of last time. That's a pretty loaded because, but it's not what I'm writing about today. What I want to say today is, fighting off those negative feelings only makes them grow larger and larger. If we were to just accept, right now I feel, [ insert anything here, anything ] then just let it run it's course. Then it would just be over. I mean, I know and you know you don't want to wallow with yourself forever. So, sooner or later you'll get back out there, but maybe right now you just need to be quiet with it, maybe it's 5-10 minutes, maybe it's 5-10 days. Either way, the world will continue to spin without you carrying it on your shoulders.
The fear of suffering is definitely worse than the suffering itself. That's been a major theme for me recently. See, I've always erred on the positive side, even if it's flat out impractical. This is its own special kind of avoidance.
It's true, though. If you just sit with your suffering, whether it's betrayal, not feeling good enough, smart enough, tall enough, thin enough, whatever complicated series of neurosis that bring you from one day to the next, just be quiet with them for a while. Like monsters under the bed, you'll find mostly what you're doing is giving form to fear.
I recently learned about a meditation called Tonglen. What happens here is you basically accept all the negativity you're feeling as well as that of anyone else who is feeling that way in the present moment. You breathe in all you've been avoiding and then breathe out some relief for yourself and others. You kind of transmute it within your own being.
I find just getting in touch with those feelings and having a sense of universal community makes a difference in my perspective.
I also like this from Pema Chöndrön, where she discusses how violence and hostility all come from the avoidance of our own feelings.
All of this to say, if we all stopped fighting off the negativity and accepted that part of living a full life means dealing with things that are really, really difficult. And some scary things, too. Then there are the things you thought you'd never get over and the things you still can't believe actually happened. They all happened and you got your bearings back and kept moving forward.
The scariest kind of criticism doesn't come from others. It comes from within, unfortunately. Convincing ourselves to feel shame, guilt, or regret over the things that simply contributed to the wholeness that is life.
The interesting things about you, are not the parts that are perfect, kudos if you have any perfect parts, they're the things that break you down and wake up the things you're truly passionate about.
The things that show you what you're really made of.