By Deb Avery
Positivity is awesome! We desperately need it in our lives.
But, we can find sometimes that we are giving up our realness, our authenticity, for the sake of trying to remain positive at all cost. We’ve all been guilty of this even if in subtle and small ways. For instance, if someone asks how we are and despite all that we may be feeling both physically and mentally, we say, “I’m fine,” is that truly being authentic? Maybe we’ve experienced empathy on such a deep level that it has rocked the very foundations of our being, yet we find ourselves trying to hide our experience because we don’t want to seem negative or too sensitive.
Perhaps we are in pain yet we keep pushing and smiling so that others don’t see how much we are really suffering. The list goes on and on. It seems I’ve been learning this lesson my whole life. Years ago, because of low self-esteem and many other factors, I lived a life outwardly that was not in line with my inner struggle for authenticity. There were times, especially early on, when I did not even understand the concept of living an authentic life.
All my life I had been programed to be pleasing to others; my parents, the God of the religion my parents chose for me, society, my friends, and later, my husband.
Then, years later, two life changing experiences happened. First, my son was born after 15 years of marriage. To say this changed me as a person, my views on life and myself in general, does not even come close to explaining the magical, amazing journey I began. For the first time in my life I experienced unconditional love.
Someone loved me simply for being myself. No conditions or approval required, just pure, simple, unconditional love at its best. And I loved someone unconditionally—no expectations, no strings, no conditions, just pure love. It changed my life forever.
Secondly, I woke up.
After years of researching, studying and adopting a lot of the practices and philosophy of Buddhism, my perception shifted. My view became clearer and the obstacles along my pathway began changing into stepping stones. I also have to give credit here to my awesome Celtic, and deeply pagan, roots.
They were responsible for a major shift in my life as well. Again, research, knowledge and practice set about a primal shift within that set me on a totally different spiritual pathway than I had ever traveled before. But it was when Buddhism and those ancient Pagan ways of my ancestors melded that my true spiritual awakening began.
They say we come full circle in life and I feel I am right there where the metaphysical beginning and end merge as one. And like many instances in life, this has happened because of pain and change—both physically and mentally.
I have come full circle to the point of choosing that unconditional and accepting love of life itself and the suffering and pain that comes along with it…yet again…but on an even deeper level than before. There is nothing that can compare to the feeling of choosing love and authenticity over and over each and every time our heart breaks a little—or a lot.
I choose to remain authentic, even on the days that there are more tears than smiles; even on the days when there is more pain than joy.
And yes, even on the days when events or experiences seem to be overwhelmingly negative. For now, after all this time, I know that whatever the negative experiences take away from my life, positive and life affirming experiences will always balance out and overcome the negative. Sometimes it’s not seen immediately. But it always balances, or even leans toward the positive.
So, here I am learning on an even deeper level that it’s okay not to smile sometimes when I’m feeling at my worst. To do otherwise is to react in-authentically to life and its experiences. It’s taken me awhile to understand this.
But I’ve come to realize that trying to always remain positive in every moment is to deny the authenticity and intensity of life itself. So I choose to feel deeply when pain is present and find gratitude in my heart for all the good and joyful experiences that come along with it.
I guess it’s a little like surfing. You will wipe out at times. But hang ten, hold on, and enjoy the ride.
Editor: Peter Schaller