One thing that really bothers me is emotional shaming.
When someone tries to invalidate your experience by pushing your feelings under the rug, more often than not with some very positive and optimistic trope. Look on the bright side, they say. Things will get better. Don’t stress out or try not to think about it.
Now for anyone out there who has been in the middle of something upsetting, telling you to don’t stress out or not to think about it just doesn’t cut the mustard. Not only is it not helpful, it diminishes the important of the emotional experience that is occuring. It aims to push your uncomfortable feelings somewhere hidden where they can’t be seen or bother anyone.
Anger is a real human emotion, one that is very important.
Swallowing our emotions and holding them in is not healthy. This can cause stress, illness or even death. Being upset because of something ongoing in our lives in something very human. It can show us where things aren’t working out the way we want or where we need to make changes. It can inspire us to action and resolution. Maybe you’re having relationship issues. Maybe you’re writing is being plagiarised. Maybe there are changes happening at work. Maybe you’re having a really bad week. While it’s never good to stay in anger permanently as a state of mind, there’s nothing wrong with experiencing it.
It’s ok to be angry. It’s ok to be frustrated. It’s ok to be not ok in this moment. People who are upset aren’t wanting to stay there. However it’s impossible to shame their frustration away. We need to allow ourselves the space to deal with what upsets us without shame or positive washing.
There is a narrative that if you’re connecting to a spiritual path, you can’t be angry.
I’m not aiming to be Buddha in this lifetime. That’s just not me. I do acknowledge that when I find myself easily upset, that there is more going on in my life that I need to pay attention to. In this way, anger and frustration are learning tools for me.
If someone comes to you and they are upset, sit with them. Ask them what’s going on. Try to have a conversation about why they are so upset. Chances are, in the process of being allowed to move through the feelings they are experiencing, they will come to some realizations on their own about what they are experiencing. Or a path will emerge to deal with what is happening. Don’t brush what they’re going through aside. Yes, it can be uncomfortable to watch someone going through this, but sometimes it happens. However, this does not in any way condone the emotional or physical abuse of anyone. If someone is being violent towards you, get out and get help.
We’re all human on this Earthly experience, and sometimes the path is rocky. It’s not always going to be positive and light. And that’s ok.