Deny my Negativity? Positively not…

A few weeks ago I was set the ‘fun’ task through Facebook of recording three positives a day for seven days, and against my better judgement I played along – but by day four I’d given up in despair. It was as if through unnaturally forcing the feeling, ironically I was becoming more and more miserable every day – a recurring pattern I’ve noticed happen many times before in my life…

There’s something about being required to be perpetually ‘positive’ that really hits a raw nerve with me – I truly resent the implication that ‘positive’ equals ‘good’ and ‘negative’ equals ‘bad’. I always feel lots of emotions all of the time, some skid fleetingly along the surface this way and that like autumn leaves blowing in the breeze, and others embed themselves deep, heavy and firmly anchored for the duration. Some emotions can be heart-soaringly joyful, while others have the power to rip my fragile heart to shreds. But all are decidedly my emotions, all originate organically within me, and in that sense all are felt equally.

Yet I grew up learning that feeling happy equated with success and approval, but feeling anything less was aligned with disappointment and failing to fulfil your potential. And so I suppose somewhere inside my child-mind I understood that those parts of me that curved comfortably above the horizontal axis on the graph of acceptibility were OK and could be positively encouraged, whereas anything skulking below was to be denied, negated, brushed under the carpet and hidden away like a shameful dirty little secret. Basically, I got the message very early on in life that half of me was just not good enough. And over the years, that ‘not good enough’ message remained trapped in my subconscious, buried deep within the dysfunctional behaviours borne of feeling a constant sense of failure in life.

Because on balance, I do tend to feel more negative than positive emotions – I seem to have a lifelong predisposition towards residing at the more miserable depressive end of the happiness scale and as a result am always on a quest to find a ‘solution’ to ‘fixing’ my dark and brooding nature. I can of course always medicate it – but in damping down the extremes of my depressive moods, I also find my precious little spikes of happiness dulling too, and life becomes altogether flatter, calmer, emptier… more ‘normal’, I guess?

It seems that in reducing my desperate lows, inevitably I lose my emotional highs as well, and I’ve discovered that, occasional crises apart, that’s a price I’m not really willing to pay in life. The thing is, living my life as a bit of a depressive is not all bad. I am perfectly capable of finding and appreciating my own meaningful ‘uplifting’ magic moments as I go through everyday life, and quite often photograph (or sometimes write about) those special little somethings that catch my eye, however ordinary they may seem to others, because for me they stand out like beacons in a storm, frequent flashes of sparkling brilliance lighting up my more usual tempestuous darkness.

So finally at fifty years old, I feel it’s definitely time I stopped trying to ‘fix’ my emotions and simply learned to live with them, all of them, ‘good’ and ‘bad’, ‘positive’ and ‘negative’, ‘high’ and ‘low’, regardless of arbitrary social or cultural expectations of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. Wherever my feelings take me as I undulate along the emotional parabola of life, I want to be able to better weather my own inner storms, experience everything to the full, learn to positively accept the more negative aspects of my emotional make up and finally fulfil my latent potential by embracing the whole, passionate human being I have always felt myself to be at heart…

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Night-time

I’m not one of life’s natural night photographers, I’ve not got a steady enough hand for the length of exposures usually required for night time photography, and feel too self-conscious to venture out with a tripod. One day I’d love to try photographing lines of traffic, with trails of front and rear lights snaking across the image… I know that’s a challenge to be met somewhere along the line, so maybe this week is the perfect time to try it out?

But in the meantime, sunsets are more my comfort-zone night-time thing – I’ve previously posted a few favourite sunsets, but I like the gentle nuances of this one for sentimental reasons. It was taken last summer, in the north of Scotland, the night before my eldest daughter’s wedding πŸ™‚

night-timePosted in response to DP Weekly Photo Challenge: Night-time