The single most important thing you should do when you feel down

TLDR: The one thing you should do when you feel down is to accept those feelings.
The only way out of a fire is to walk straight through it: if you try to ignore it or numb yourself out to it’s presence, eventually it will consume you. Instead, accept it: accept the pain, acknowledge it, go through it, trusting that you will make it through as you did all the other times something made you feel really bad.


When our feelings are darkest in the darkest of night, we may find it hard to accept that darkness as something useful. Believe it or not, but it is a good friend who’s name means night, that introduced me to a beautiful poem on accepting our feelings of darkness. A poem written by the 13th century Persian philosopher and poet Rumi. I am posting it here for myself as a reminder whenever things don’t go like I want them to, and for all of you for whenever you feel that way.

Here it is:

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

 

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When you feel like you are spiraling downward, when you are feeling angry, upset, frustrated, melancholic, ashamed, or whatever you don’t like feeling, then just remind yourself: it is fine to feel this way. It all leads somewhere else eventually: it clears a path, or even forms the path to a better self.


For more information on Rumi, this is his wikipedia page for starters:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumi

 

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