She felt alone, like she didn’t belong, afraid to voice the pain inside.
Her voice wasn’t welcome in this world of flowers and rainbows.
They made her feel like her words were full of poison and darkness, and so she fell silent.
Is negativity always a bad thing? “Yes”, you may say, we must be positive in life, look on the bright side, view the glass as half full and not dwell on the bad. But can we only be positive all the time? Is it wrong to talk about the negative things or bad experiences we may have had?
Some of my experiences in life, some of things that have made me who I am, have been dark difficult times. I have had times when the world felt it was ending, that everyone would be better off with out me and times when I despaired at those around me and wondered how they could have acted they way they did. For a long time I kept these things hidden and I too was silent, afraid to speak up, to voice the way I felt and the way I had been treated, for fear I would be judged. It has taken me much soul searching to share the pain and anguish, it has required me to face the agony of my own mind and accept many things that I had sought to forget and leave behind. But there are reasons I did so and yet some feel that to share stories such as mine, to talk about dark times is wrong and not helpful, but is this so?
‘Negative stories cause fear, upset people and are discouraging’ Ive heard it said. Is this true? When we look to learn from life, can we only learn from the good? No, because for us even to appreciate the good we need to know that bad exists!
So the question is can something negative be positive? I believe it can.
Negative experiences or stories help us to learn, they help us to improve, they help us to do better, make wiser choices and embrace the good. What happens if we paint a picture that the world is wonderful and no place for negativity only good? What happens when the picture is only perfect, with no place for sadness, or a place where only those eternally happy may reside? Then we give a false impression. This world is not prefect, mistakes happen, people get hurt, harm happens, sometimes to those we love, and things do not always go as we would have planned. When we do not acknowledge this we give half a picture, and we leave those who need it unprepared for the realities of life. Not only that, but then those that do share their difficult experiences or do not have a positive journey feel silenced, isolated and this can deepen the hurt, confound the scars. Imagine if we never taught our children about the possibility of harm? What if we never told them that sometimes in life bad things happen? Unprepared for the reality, they would feel let down, lied to and misled. How then could they turn to us in times of distress and seek help if they believe that only the positive belongs in the world?
Rather than try to silence those who have had a difficult journey we should listen, acknowledge the experience, showing empathy and love. These stories are invaluable for they provide gems that can be used to make the world better. Life is messy, but we should not shy away from that mess, it makes us who we are, it gives room for growth, provides insight and make us all better people. We can draw so much from embracing the good and the bad and openly sharing these. Doing so allows for a clearer perspective, the possibility of preparing for when things in life may change and also for having a sense of reality instead of an idealist view that can lead to disappointment.
So called ‘negative’ stories can also provide support, support to others that too are struggling or suffering on the path that is life. Finding someone that knows your pain, can share your grief or understands the way you feel can provide much needed solace and comfort. When things are going well we often do not always need such closeness of companionship, but in dark times the need to feel loved and cared for, supported and understood can mean the difference between coping and not coping.
Does this mean that we should all be full of woe, mournful and unhappy? Of course not. Hearing both stories that are happy and sad allow us to see that the picture can be different for different people and what one person may find hard another may not. Diversity of the human spirit is deep and meaningful, it gives us understanding of what it means to be human and teaches much about the qualities that we all have within.
Everyones story, everyones voice matters, we all have much to share from the rich tapestry of life. Sometimes those stories will be wonderful, happy and joyous, sometimes those stories will be sad, hard and moving. I don’t want it live in a world where the sun always shines, where only flowers grow and rainbows always fill the sky. Because to feel the rain on my skin, to blow a dandelion and make a wish and to see the dark skies that herald a storm teach me about life too, that it is hard, and wonderful, it is happy and sad, it is magical and mundane but it is life and it is what makes it special.
So share your stories, let them breathe and fill people with wonder, never be ashamed of your battles, or struggles and rejoice in your successes and accomplishments. Let us make all stories equal and of value, lets hold them up as worthy of our time and attention. Show your scars and help others, share your gifts and celebrate the joy they bring, never let anyone silence you because you have so much to give.