Ever get sick of being told to look on the bright side?

By Dr Gary Latest Activity June 18, 2016 at 7:52 pm Views 3,407 Replies 1

Dr Gary

I’ll follow up this question with another one: Ever just let yourself feel crummy (angry, sad, frustrated…)?

I am all about positive psychology. Staying optimistic. Being open to what’s possible in a difficult situation. Seeing the cup as half full and not half empty.

A client was recently telling me about the toll his chronic condition was taking on his life. He had to cut back on his responsibilities at work and this was affecting both his income and his self-esteem. I listened to him to him as he talked about his frustration and his fears about the future. He was feeling pretty bleak.

I encouraged him to look at his life from another angle: “You still have a job,” I said. “And it sounds like they value you enough to make accommodations for you.”

Here’s what my client said: “Enough with the silver lining, already. Can’t we sit with how crummy I feel for awhile?”

“Yes,” I answered. “We can do that.”

My client’s comment about the “silver lining” caused me to think. I often talk to my clients about how living with chronic conditions means living with changes that we didn’t choose. Not having control can leave you feeling helpless.

I think there is a lot to be said for staying positive and looking for the silver lining. I think that’s how we maintain our perspective during hard times. But I also recognize that sometimes we just need to sit and feel bad. Yes, even feeling sorry for ourselves. Our feelings are our feelings.

I wrote an article on this topic a few weeks ago. Here’s a link:


What about you? Are there times when life feels like climbing a mountain, and every time you think you are on firm footing and can take a rest, the ground begins to crumble?

What do you do? Distract yourself? Talk it out? And if you let yourself feel bad, how do you cope? Do you set limits with yourself?

Really looking forward to hearing from you on this one.

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  • Beckstertenn
    Beckstertenn August 24, 2017 at 3:16 am   

    Very newly diagnosed…first chemo a week ago, and still in the pissed off stage but everyone says "you're so strong" and "you got this" I still wonder when those feelings will come from within. But I can't stay in the doubt stage long, there's too much of my journey left.