I’m all about trying to have a positive attitude.
I understand how important gratitude is. I’ve been trained in and studied positive psychology for the last three years.
I have a strong grasp on the power of our mindset and perspective and how important it is to look for those moments and glimmers of hope and joy.
So I am on board with all of these aspects and aware of how helpful they can be when we’re reframing those negative situations we encounter.
It’s called reframing because we’re shifting the framework of the situation ever so slightly, like with a camera, to cut the yucky stuff out and to only focus on the pretty and the good stuff.
Again — I get the reasons why we do this and how it can be helpful.
But I also am one who thinks sometimes, we just need to really embrace the yuck.
I’ve grown a bit weary of the toxic positivity I’ve seen floating around the last few years, where things get a pastel washing with those reframes that make you feel like there’s something wrong with you for saying or even thinking that things are not all rainbows and puppies.
I’ve never been one for saying things are great when they aren’t, or for not speaking my truth, despite how uncomfortable it may make someone feel.
It’s hereditary, this whole inability to pretend things are hunky-dory when they’re not, a direct genetic trait from the Redhead Prime herself.
So I am proposing we embrace the yuck.
That doesn’t mean we enjoy it, or even go out looking for yucky stuff to experience.
Not by a long shot.
What it does mean is we stop saying things are fine, when they aren’t; rather than smiling and nodding, we speak up.
We are going to acknowledge that things are not the way we want them to be, and yet somehow, we’re going to be OK with that.
It’s practicing the concept of radical acceptance in a way, where we just accept the fact that sometimes, things are yucky and there may not be anything we can do about it.
We sit with it and acknowledge it, and rather than trying to fake our way through the emotions of it, we just accept that the yuck is. At least for a moment.
I really believe this is so important right now.
I was speaking with someone about this the other day. I asked them how they had been and they said truthfully, “I’m exhausted.”
I asked them if they needed to sleep.
“No. Sleep won’t help this. I’m exhausted from–” they gestured with their hand — “everything. Stuff. It’s just tiring. You know?”
I did know.
We’re exhausted by so much lately — we have fatigue from the pandemic, mass shootings, the war, and all the other horrors we see — and that only serves to compound our own personal stuff that we’re dealing with.
Many of us are grieving, whether it’s from losing a loved one, a relationship, or even a job.
In some cases, it may be the loss of something we didn’t really have, but just had the illusion of.
It’s not so much the ‘what’ but rather the fact that we are all dealing with a tremendous amount of yuck at any given time.
We’re just all hiding it behind a smile, or telling people we’re fine. Maybe it’s a form of denial; as long as we deny it, things are OK.
Granny never did that. When she’d walk into Walmart and the greeter asked her how she was, she stopped and told her the honest-to-God truth.
I was mortified to stand there and hear my grandmother rattle on for 10 minutes about everything from how her gallbladder had been giving her fits to how the alignment was out on her Oldsmobile.
“Granny, she didn’t really want to know,” I’d say as we walked away.
“Then she shouldn’t have asked.”
“That’s her job. She’s supposed to say ‘hey’ and ‘how are you.’ She doesn’t expect people to really tell her.”
Granny stopped dead in her tracks. “That’s what’s wrong with this world. People don’t care how other folks are doing and people ain’t telling them when they do ask.”
The old gal was right, as she always was.
And maybe the reason people stopped caring as much wasn’t out of neglect but because they believed, as they had been told, that everything was fine.
When we hear it enough — and say enough ourselves — we start to believe that lie, too.
As we embrace the yuck, we not only are being honest with ourselves and everyone else, but maybe we’re taking some of the power of the yuck away as well.
I really think if we were able to say, “This is not the way I want this to be,” or “this is not fine; I’m struggling right now,” and were able to talk about it, really talk about it, and cast light to those shadows, maybe just maybe, things could and would get better.
Sudie Crouch is an award-winning humor columnist residing in the North Georgia Mountains among the bears, deer, and possibly Sasquatch. You can connect with her on Facebook at Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Humor, and Deep-Fried Wisdom. Her recently published book, ‘Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Wisdom, and Deep-Fried Humor’ is available in paperback and Kindle download on Amazon.