“Once we have fully experienced one side of a polarity — unpleasant feelings such as insecurity or sadness, we can fully participate in its counterpart — emotions such as self-confidence, fearlessness, and joy.” Doris Helge, Ph.D. Author of Transforming Pain Into Power
None of us likes to feel bad. We all want to feel good, but Christmas after divorce is hard. But think about those words. Do they conjure up the Christmas song. “Oh you better watch out. You better not cry. You better not pout, I’m telling you why. Santa Claus is coming to town. He knows if you’ve been sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!”
We can act badly. We can behave honorably. But can feelings themselves be bad or good? Not according to Dr. Helge. She makes the point that feelings are just feelings and without experiencing the full array of feelings, we are destined to live a life of mediocrity, boredom and merely existing instead of fully living.
Don’t be afraid to feel all of your emotions fully. Don’t judge them. Don’t feel guilty about feeling them at both ends of the spectrum. Feeling sadness paves the way and eventually allows a true outbreaking of joy! Neither is possible without the other.
She says, “We have labeled some of the most natural components of ourselves as positive and some as negative. We hate feeling our fear, and we love feeling happy. There’s a catch! We can’t feel the full extent of our joy and empowerment without feeling the depth of their respective opposites.
The positive and negative charges of a battery are both essential to its functioning. Likewise, it is necessary for us to honestly feel whatever we feel — pain or pleasure.” The fact of the matter is, we all feel all of the emotions, and we should. If we never felt sad or angry or lonely, how would we really appreciate joy and peace and connectedness? We can’t have life with only sunshine and joy and perfect happiness.
That life is not only impossible; it would make us shallow, cold, yet smiling robots. But we are real life, flesh and blood women who can sob and scream and fret and fume, but who can also cherish and soothe and appreciate and celebrate. We can’t have dawn without the night. We can’t have the “bright and morning star” without the darkness that came before.
“Here’s the reward I have for every conqueror, everyone who keeps at it, who refuses to give up; You’ll rule the nations … This was the gift my Father gave me; and I pass it along to you — and with it the Morning Star!” Revelation 2:26, 28 (The Message)