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The Cost of Optimism Overload

I am optimistic by nature. I've trained myself to be this way, too. I can always find the good in people, situations, and even pain.

But difficult things happen. Tragedy and loss occur. Illness strikes. To force optimism and positive outlook prematurely has even greater consequence on our wellbeing than experiencing the depths of the hurt.

I believe forced optimism is a form of self-disassociation.

We are human. We are built to experience the entire range of emotions. Problem only comes when we attach to certain emotions and live from them entirely.

Children remind us of the fickle nature of our emotions. One minute they are happy, bouncing off the walls. The next, they are sobbing and inconsolable. They let them ALL move through and are powerful reminders for us.

I once heard a story about Tibetan monks meditating on compassion for the Chinese soldiers WHILE their village was being raped and pillaged. They were lauded world-wide for this. And yes, it is impressive to get to this state of compassion.

But what about their sisters and mothers who were in the midst of being violated and scarred for a lifetime? Did this not strike the even the slightest bit of anger? Sadness, maybe?

I would hope to think my people would be ready to go to battle if this happened to me. At least feel empathy on my behalf...

Our emotions serve a biological, protective purpose. In my experience, they serve a spiritual one, too.

There are things I've learned about myself when I'm experiencing heavy emotions:

  • Slow down.

  • Don't make any big decisions or commitments.

  • Give yourself space and time.

  • You don't have to have answers or perspective yet.

This is how I sit with the dark ones. Most typically, it means change is coming. But not yet. I have to BE in the pain, the pause, before I can find the opening.

I am not interested in attaching myself to disempowering emotions for the long haul. And yes, my baseline is optimism. But not in exchange for pain. Because of it. For it is THROUGH my pain that I find reason to be authentically optimistic.

Let it ALL come, Loves.




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