“I don’t know how to get back to that happiness,” she cried as she rocked her beautiful baby in her arms. She shared with me that she’d reached a blissful state of happiness and positivity, feeling like she could always choose it no matter what. But it was gone now, and she crashed so hard there were weeks when she couldn’t get herself out of bed. She had to be bathed and fed and she was fighting like hell to get back to happy. “People tell me it wasn’t real.”
“It was absolutely real,” I smiled. “But if feels like there’s a dark side you’ve been denying. And when you face into that and do the healing work, the happiness will come back fuller and richer than before. It will come back as pure unshakable joy.”
There’s power in choosing positivity. In choosing to be happy and grateful and only see life as a glass half full with plenty more water at the ready. It’s beautiful, really.
But it doesn’t always work.
Because some of us aren’t just “being negative” or working with a surface level layer of beliefs that need to be adjusted. Some of us have grief and trauma and scars that run so deep we wonder how we didn’t split straight in two. Some of us have holes and cracks and damage to our foundation that can’t be plastered over with polished positivity. We can’t just “fake it till we make it.”
Sometimes we can use those techniques to get a boost. Things are better, we feel positive, and we’re shouting affirmations at anyone who will listen, convinced that we’ve “figured it out” and will always stay “up.”
Until we crash.
Because we can’t deny our wounds.
We can’t deny our darkness.
Positive Affirmation People love to tell us that “dark” is bad. That anger or grief or trauma have a silver lining, and that silver lining is all we should focus on. And yes, everything happens for a reason whether we like or understand it… but only facing into the “light” and looking at the “gifts” puts all our weight on one side of the scale. Eventually we’re going to tip over. And the more energy we put into that single side, the harder the crash.
If you want to be happy — and I mean a truly unshakable joy that bubbles up from your core no matter what’s happening — then you have to face into the pain. The wounds. The darkness.
And, truth be told, it’s going to feel like you’re dying.
Because, in a sense, you are.
When we face into what hurts, what’s messy, and what’s dark, we face into emotions and experiences that feel like they might eat us alive. The pain can be so deep and so overwhelming we don’t know which way’s up or down. The tears are so fierce and powerful we nearly stop breathing. The truths, the wounds, the aches, they feel like they’ll break us.
This is where we usually stop.
We bandage it up carelessly.
We turn back towards “the light.”
We suppress the emotions.
We hide from the pain.
But if we’re willing to face into it, to be absorbed by it, and to feel it all the way through… not sit in it, not let it fester and become stagnant, but move it through us with tears and words and full body screams… we’ll move right through that space that feels like actual death. And it’s only by going through that void, that dark pocket in between, that we connect with peace and joy and love and truth.
It’s only through that painful pocket — that moment of death and rebirth — that we find the kind of faith and trust that carries us into something even more amazing, joyful, and aligned than we knew was possible.
It’s going to feel like you’re dying… because that part that’s wounded and stuck and wracked with pain, that part of us will be released. And we’ll be reborn with more purpose, passion, trust, faith, freedom, and deep, deep joy.
As someone who has walked through that pocket, more than once, I can attest to its beauty and grace and divine initiation. And I also understand that it seems absolutely terrifying and impossible from where you stand. I know it feels like you won’t survive it. I know it hurts more than anything you’ve ever known.
But, I promise, you’re right there.
You’re so damn close to everything amazing.
You just have to face into it.
Feel and move it all the way through.
You can do this.