Good Vibes Only. Well, that sounds pretty awesome, right? I mean, after all, I only want positive people, places, things and thoughts in my life, right? But what about those days, moments, years where I’m not feeling all good vibey? What about the times in my life when things just really suck? Where are the good vibes now when I’m in the dark spaces of my life?
“Think positive thoughts”
“It is what it is”
“Turn lemons into lemonade”
“Everything happens for a reason”
Are you kidding me? Please stop. If that’s the best you’ve got, then I’m in trouble.
I need help. I need specifics. I need relief. I need direction. I don’t need the spiritual mumbo jumbo you’re offering. I can’t just “think positive thoughts” my way out of this. I need answers.
When someone is struggling, really struggling, because they are in poverty, chronic pain, anxiety, depression, addiction, etc., these words can be painful to hear. Even harmful. Because, to think that I can use magic, positive words to escape my problems is, sometimes just bullsh*t. When you tell someone to “look at the bright side” when they are in real pain only makes them feel like there is yet, one more thing wrong with them. Like they are weak or broken or even undeserving of a life beyond the pain. Sometimes, life is just really sh*tty and there are no answers…only time.
I have visions of what I want my life to be. I have dreams. Sometimes, the dream is simply to create the world's most perfect cup of hot chocolate. Lately, its bigger than that. It's working towards my husband's retirement so we can relish “the good life” together, on a lake, with a warm fireplace and lots of books. That dream is currently at the top of my list.
I’ve done so much work. I attend my 12-step meetings regularly. I work with others and “carry the message”. I read great books about self-help and self-care. I rely on the Bible. I watch lots of Oprah’s SuperSoul Sunday. I listen to podcasts. I make my gratitude lists. I journal. I work hard to live a very honest and true life. I write and offer my little thoughts to the world with the true intention that my silly stories can be useful to others. I affirm myself and others and give daily thanks to God for all of my blessings.
Yet, sometimes life throws great big, fat, fast-paced curve balls and I’m shaken to my core.
No matter how much working, reading, journaling, writing, sharing, listening, serving, loving I do, the times are going to come when I will be at such a loss I won’t be able to breathe. When all of the work I’ve done, everything I’ve learned, practiced and studied, will simply slip away and *poof*, it will be gone. When I’ll honestly feel like the best I can do is to crawl up in a ball and cry. Life will be scary and rather than grabbing on to what I know, I’ll choose to let my fears swallow me up.
Sometimes, no matter how much love and energy I put into improving my life, the stars just don’t align.
Sometimes, even the healthiest person becomes ill.
Sometimes, the answer I was hoping for doesn’t come.
Sometimes, crime and poverty and evil still exist.
Sometimes, really sh*tty things just happen and I get exhausted and tired and weary and sad and bitter and angry and full of shame and lots and lots of other ugly words.
So, let’s all be careful when we suggest to another human being who’s suffering that they just need “good vibes”. They, sure as hell, don’t need one more thing to feel inadequate about. What they really need is for someone to listen. Listen, the verb…the action word. What they really need is for someone to come in and wrap them up in a great, big, fuzzy blanket and bring them a big cup of hot chocolate. (Or is that just me?)
Listen. They'll tell you what they need.