Good Vibes Only? No, Thanks

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You can’t walk down the aisles at Target without being smacked in the face with the latest trendy self-help feel-good platitude plastered on a mug or a sweatshirt. I’m all for gorgeous hand lettering, and Brené Brown is my homegirl, but this constant reminder to “stay positive” and to “manifest your destiny” is getting exhausting.

Before you message me the number to your life coach (I already have one, she’s great), please know that I really do see the value of reminding yourself to stay positive and focus on your goals. Self-growth is extremely important. But have we created a candy-coated world where we insist on good vibes, and don’t allow ourselves to feel feelings that aren’t hand lettered or on a felt letter board?

Sometimes, things happen that just suck. And no matter what platitude-toting mug you’re holding when you get that bad email/call/text, you might actually feel a feeling that isn’t positive. What we need then is not a reminder to stay positive, but to know that we have a safe place to work out all the feels.

I get it — “Any vibe that you feel at any given moment only” isn’t as catching and lacks that faux-spiritual, new-age ring (and probably won’t fit on a sweatshirt). But insisting that things remain positive could potentially be harmful. When things suck, and we ignore the way that it makes us feel, we bury our real emotions under hand lettering, faking it. Or worse, we fake our ability to manage the things that truly hurt us.

Sacrificing your authenticity to fit into a cookie-cutter mold of emotion is certainly more detrimental than feeling a negative vibe. And what if we insist that those who are in our lives only bring their emotional A-game? Will they feel like we are a safe place for them to land when something sucks? Probably not.

I’ve mentioned in the past the importance of raising a tiny human with a high emotional IQ. How is it possible to teach our children the vast array of emotions they might be subjected to throughout their lives if we’re spouting the importance of good vibes only? Come to me with your bad vibes — bad vibes sweeten the whole deal if you ask me. After all, it’s the bad times that really make us appreciate the good — the salt in the pudding.

When things are awful, we have an opportunity to look that moment square in the eye, to feel it fully, and to start the process of healing ourselves. How can you experience the beauty of growth from something painful if you have a good-vibe gatekeeper around your heart? And how can we expect the people we allow in our lives to filter their true feelings so that we only see the good ones? Is that the stuff of true friendship?

Excuse me while I channel my inner Cher, but may I remind you, it does not say “Good Vibes Only” on the Statue of Liberty. So, bring me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses. Give me your good and your bad, the hard and the easy. And give me more hand-lettered mugs, because those are adorable.

About the Author

Bryna Rodenhizer calls herself an accidental writer. With a motley crew of two young children providing plenty of fodder, she began contributing to the Jacksonville Moms Blog, weaving tales of potty training and tantrum taming. She’s currently working her dream job as a freelance writer for Baptist Health and Wolfson Children’s Hospital, and now feels nothing but gratitude and honor to tell the stories of the young patients and their families. Bryna and her husband are former ex-pats, having lived in Japan for seven years before returning to Jacksonville with those two boisterous kids and one rather handsome standard poodle. If you ask her if she was able to learn any of the beautiful language, she will respond with a shoulder shrug and say, “Wakarimasen,” which means, “I do not know.” Lucky for us, she has an excellent grasp of the English language.

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