We want life to be “as dazzling and painless as possible,” but life is full of ups and downs. True strength comes from learning to thrive in both the dazzling and the heartbreaking times (David 80). In her book, Emotional Agility, Susan David says,
“One of the greatest human triumphs is to choose to make room in our hearts for both the joy and the pain, and to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. This means seeing feelings not as being ‘good’ or ‘bad’ but as just ‘being’” (80).
We don’t have to fix every negative thing in our lives. We don’t have to remain positive through it all. Sometimes, as Susan David says,
What we really need to do, though, is also what is most simple and obvious: nothing. That is, to just welcome these inner experiences, breathe into them, and learn their contours without racing for the exits” (80).
Next time you are faced with an uncomfortable emotion, quietly think to yourself: feel, breathe, learn. Accept your feelings for what they are. Acknowledge them without judging them.
What do you think it means to make room in your heart for “both the joy and the pain” (David 80)?
Let’s practice! Sit quietly for 3 minutes. Take long slow breaths in and out. Notice your emotions. Welcome them and learn about them without judging them. Practice “getting comfortable with being uncomfortable” (David 80).
References: Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life By Susan David