The Winter of my Discontent; on having negative emotions


Lately I am finding myself annoyed with our cultural tendency to shut down negative emotions. Or worse, pretend like they don’t exist. I feel like there is pressure to constantly be happy and positive all of the time, when sometimes being happy isn’t necessarily appropriate for the moment.

Ironically,  books and articles that touch on this very subject are crossing my path. What perfect timing!

And I am remembering that I have written about this before.

So I suppose this post is my annual reminder that it is totally OK and completely appropriate to have negative emotions. It is a process of the human condition. It is samsara.  In order to have happiness we must experience unhappiness. So when you are going through something that is not pleasant, embrace it. Just go with it. It is OK.

Currently I am kind of pissed off about the weather. It has snowed almost everyday for a month. I can’t drive my car because it is too icy and I haven’t been able to travel more than a 5 mile radius from my home for weeks. I have had to cancel a number of plans. Walking around outside on the skating rink we are calling streets is completely frightening. It sucks. This is my emotional response to the snow. Maybe yours is different. That is OK.  We are two different creatures who experience life in different ways. Both of our experiences are valid.

Also, in a week a narcissistic psychopath with the brain of a 12 year old will take the office of President of the United States. I am afraid. It is affecting my outlook and maybe even my mental health. This emotional response is appropriate and valid.

The idea that we are supposed to be happy and positive constantly, even when we don’t feel like it, is unhealthy. If you are happy be  happy. If you are sad, be sad. If you are pissed off at the world, be pissed off. Experiencing the negative feelings make the positive ones better and more authentic.

Here is one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite books that touches on this point well:

“Enjoyment is always greatest when you have enough contrast to measure it by.”

M. Wylie Blanchet, The Curve of Time


Thank you for reading my annual rant against winter. Back to your regularly scheduled photoblog. 🙂

12 thoughts on “The Winter of my Discontent; on having negative emotions

  1. Yes. I actually have patients think their negative feelings in response to extreme stress or loss are somehow wrong or something to fix. I reject this idea. The problem is when we can’t shake the bad feelings after the stress has reduced, or when the loss has faded into the past. Emotional variations allow us to live life in technicolor.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely! And there is that point when you might need help pulling out of a depression, in my experience, it’s helpful to know that it’s normal to not feel happiness constantly. That realization has helped me through depression, actually


  2. I’ve been having a lot of negative emotions lately. I’m struggling at work. I don’t like the way the company is being led. I’m worried about getting canned. My health isn’t reliable. It’s not terrible, but I can’t count on waking up in the morning and being fully able to participate in the day. And I think I’m underestimating the impact the impending inauguration is having on me.

    I’m just sitting with these emotions, letting them be. But I do not in any way, shape, or form trust my thinking right now, because those emotions color it so.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hum…I guess it’s okay to be pissed off once in a while for whatever reason, but against the weather?
    Lady you don’t need a change of attitude, what you need it’s a change of place, take a vacation, go for a couple of weeks to a tropical paradise, that should do it, or relocate for good! 🙂


    1. I couldn’t disagree with you more and this is the attitude that I find irritating. It’s this blowing off of other’s emotional responses to situations as wrong. You don’t know me or my situation. Moving away or a vacation is not an option for me right now. This is where I am currently at and I accept that and it is totally ok and valid for me to feel bad. It is not ok for you or anyone else to tell me how I should feel.


      1. Sorry, it was not my intention to make you mad or criticize you, neither tell you how you should feel, in fact I was just trying to put some humor at the whole thing, period.
        Apologize to you if it offended you. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. My apologies as well if I took it the wrong way. I have a hard time reading sarcasm over the internet. I actually do have a sense of humor, believe it or not! 🙂 I’m just a little sensitive around this topic

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I understand, a month of snow, I grew up on the tropics, very likely couldn’t handle it, I live now in Southern California, and in my opinion it’s pretty bad enough without the snow.
            Your time to laugh at me! 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I live in the Portland, OR metro area and we don’t experience winter here. Usually just a long rainy season. I actually moved here to get away from a climate that has winter & snow. So this has been weird and unsettling, as well as inconvenient. The infrastructure here isn’t equipped to handle what we are experiencing. It’s making a lot of us cranky. 🙂 but I’ve kind of accepted it and am remembering what “winter mode” is like and it’s fine. Not my favorite, but I’ll survive. 🙂


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