A Note On Feeling Positive When You’re In a Messy Season

Sometimes life throws us too many lemons in one go.

And, things get tough – a little messy and maybe a bit more “meh” than we’d like.

You know, when things don’t feel light and breezy, but you keep going anyway, because you have to.

When the struggle is REAL.

When feeling positive seems like the hardest thing in the world to do. That kind of feeling.

I swear, this isn’t a doom and gloom post – I wanted to write this today, with all the feels, because I feel like there are WAY too many posts out there preaching about being positive and how it’s just a quick-quick mindset switch. Well, guess what? Sometimes it just isn’t.

Life is hard and some seasons are worse than others.

Sometimes the season we’re in is the kind of stuff that doesn’t go straight to the highlight reel.

Sometimes things aren’t as simple as we’d like them to be.
And honestly… sometimes, those things just need a bit of TIME to work themselves out.

It’s tough when you see everyone else having the time of their lives, but you feel stuck. When you know something isn’t quite in alignment and you don’t really know what to do to change it. It’s exhausting. 

But you know, I think a LOT of us give ourselves a hard time.

Society makes us feel like we need to be doing this and that in the fastest time possible – and, we forget something:

We forget that life is a journey, not one big competitive race.

All those crazy expectations.

I think a lot of us tend to try and control things in our lives a little TOO much.

There’s this outright (and sometimes unspoken) pressure to perform, to be this amazing friend, wife, employee, human being. And my goodness, if you’re anything short of that, it means you’re not trying hard enough. Or, heaven forbid… you’re just not hustling hard enough. Urrrrg… I can’t stand that word.

But, here’s the scary truth:

That ridiculous pressure? MOST of it is stuff we put on ourselves. 


I said it. I say it because I do it all the time. I almost never think I’m doing enough.

Hello perfectionism. Crazy pressure to be great at everything, ALL the time.

I’m not sure why – maybe it’s because I was always a C-average student at school and now I think I need to make up for lost time. A few years ago I thought it was a good thing, but now, it’s become my Achilles heel.

So I had all this unnecessary pressure…

To be amazing at everything (creative life, work, running, eating healthy, friendship, marriage, etc.) – AND then I hit a really rocky patch and things went really downward from there.

ENTER: Painful grief, depression, and questioning a lot in my life.

Some messy seasons last longer than an actual season and that's okay. Give yourself the grace and space to heal. Click To Tweet

Find the positive… again.

It irritates me when people think slapping on a smile will change everything.

When people say “cheer up” or “happiness is a choice, so be happy!”

YES, it IS a choice and we CAN be, but it’s not always as simple as waking up and being all chipper with a brand new attitude. It’s usually a series of things and some very real talk that’s got to happen FIRST.

In other words, a little thing called reality. 

Pretending to be positive when you don’t feel like it and bottling things up isn’t the answer.

You know what’s helped me the most though?

OWNING the feels.

Feeling them, embracing them, letting them out. Whether that’s screaming into a pillow or “singing” to Linkin Park in the car (preferably when you’re by yourself with the windows closed).

Venting, journalling the RAW and real feels, and having those tough conversations with the ones you love. Sure, it’s not easy and it’s not really pleasant, but I swear… when you get that dark stuff OUT…

You make space for the LIGHT. 

And that’s what matters.

Test the waters.

When you’ve owned the feels… it’s time to go find your light.

Little by little, inject mini moments of positive light into your days.

Whether that’s a new morning routine that makes you feel inspired to get up, or switching up a few eating habits with more energy and mood-boosting foods. (Because who really wants to feel sluggish and meh?)

I started doing this a few months ago… SLOWLY. (It’s a work in progress atm).

I’m busy testing the waters to see what feels good, and what doesn’t stick. And the more I give myself permission to experiment and not commit to anything concrete, the more I find myself taking away that ridiculous pressure to have my entire life figured out. And feeling stuck.

Mini moments of the feel-good stuff, like…

  • Little daily pick-me-ups, like affirmations
  • Setting boundaries
  • Creating space to dream BIG
  • And a WHOLE lot of self love
Give yourself permission to not have your entire life figured out at any given moment. Life isn't a competition. Click To Tweet

Embrace where you are right now.

So maybe you’re not where you thought you’d be in your life right now. Or, maybe things aren’t going the way you want them to – job wise, friendship wise, self esteem wise… whatever.

Life isn’t a straight line.

And, I’m learning that it’s actually a never-ending roller-coaster. There will ALWAYS be good days and there will always be bad days, it’s just the way it is. Just remember that everything in life, the good, the bad, and the in-between is all just temporary.

See the bigger picture…

Let go of crazy expectations.

Own the feels when you need to – but don’t live in them for too long. Watch the motivational videos if you need them, pray, meditate, do things that make your soul feel GOOD.

And, please, please... if you need a personal day or two or three, put that leave in.

Life is about enjoying the journey not working yourself to death and enduring the stress.

You’re allowed a bad day, and you’re allowed to look after your mental well-being when you need to.

I’m learning to be a lot kinder to myself, because for the longest time, I haven’t been.
Expectations and all that.

Self love and self care isn’t selfish. It’s a necessity in today’s go-go-go digital world where we’re expected to do so much, and then some.


Take care of you, share the feels with someone trusted, and seek out the light a little at a time.

OWN your messy season and give yourself time to work through the stuff you need to. But don’t stay there too long.

How do YOU stay positive?

I’d love to hear – tell me about your positive pick-me-ups. What makes you feel better on those not-so-great days?

  1. Oh lord sometimes the lemons that come at me make me feel like I’m in a citrus swimming pool.
    I’m normally a pretty upbeat person, and I’ve seen this drive others crazy.
    But I do agree: the whole, “be positive” spin on things is out of control. And sorely taken out of context of what it’s meant to be – at least in my humble opinion.
    See, being positive, to me, means that, as you said, there WILL be bad days. There will be days when I “just can’t even.” On those days, positive means saying kind things to myself when I’d rather berate my body on how I look or how I’m too selfish. It means saying, “I’m right here, right now, doing the best I can, and this is what it looks like. And I’m beautiful just the way I am.” And sometimes it takes every ounce of my energy to even think a good thought about myself.
    Being positive means that in life’s terrible situations, I acknowledge the terror that IS the situation, and look for a way to either fix it or to fix my mental state to not be so traumatized by it.
    Still, “positive” is having compassion for others and for myself for my utter human-ness.
    Thank you for this thought-provoking post. And it’s such good food for thought. Being positive doesn’t mean flipping a switch and deciding to go from mad to glad. Being mad is a healthy emotion, as is being glad. And it’s all temporary, as you said. Too many people think it’s about flipping a switch. It’s so not about that. It’s about seeing the “switch in the proverbial room, in which we learn to navigate the best we can.”
    Sending hugs and wishes for a wonderful week, dear friend! xo

    1. I LOVE the way you put all of that – yes! I totally agree… the “positive” spin is out of control a lot of the time and also taken out of context. It’s about REAL life, not portraying what we think others want to see or us to be. I really like what you said about saying kind things to yourself on the bad days. SO important!!! And something I’ve constantly got to be reminding myself – because, for years I went straight to the self shaming / sabotaging. Thank you so much for your amazing comment my friend!! You gave me a lot of food for thought too. I especially like this part – “Being positive doesn’t mean flipping a switch and deciding to go from mad to glad” – sums it up perfectly! Sending hugs and will message you tomorrow. <3 Hope you're having a wonderful weekend so far xxx

  2. The word “Time” resonated with me when I saw it but not as much as the word “messy”. I’m stuck in what feels like a really messy situation now & feel like it’s taking forever to resolve itself. I’m growing impatient & feel like it’ll never end. But I’ve also realized that the way I speak to myself is shocking! I’m so hard on myself and unforgiving. Not kind at all. I’m starting to fix that part first. Thx for the great post. Always comes at the right time too!

    1. Hey Bronwynne, I’m so glad this post resonated with you! 🙂 Aaaah yes, the way we speak to ourselves IS shocking. I never thought anything of it, to be honest – until I did a short course last year on psychology. I learned that our bodies (the cells and neurons that connect eveeerything) really DO “hear” the way we think about ourselves. This leads to stress and anxiety and tension and all sorts of crappy feelings, which can then lead to all kinds of other things. Our minds are SO powerful. It’s by no means an overnight “fix” – I’m learning that it’s more of a journey filled with many, many baby steps, like reading positive affirmations, uplifting podcasts, self development books, meditation, exercise, eating mood/energy-boosting foods, setting boundaries, making time for nothing. Being your own best friend, I guess. Giving ourselves the grace to grow and the permission to NOT be perfect. Have you ever read any of Brene Brown’s books? If not, I HIGHLY recommend them. I read, Daring Greatly and it was such an eye opener. She talks a lot about boundaries and owning who you are – she tells it like it is and I love the way she writes/talks.

  3. Gymming makes me feel good these days. I recently started doing boxing classes at the gym, and I LOVE it. It just feels so empowering, hitting that bag and seeing the progress.

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