I sat down for a while trying to think about the best advice I’ve ever received and sadly my memory is failing me. I’ve never really sought out a lot of advice because I’m stubborn as hell and eeny meeny miney mo is how I make most of my decisions. I never really had a specific person that I admired (besides Brad Pitt) so I couldn’t remember any meaningful advice that has served me throughout the years.
I’m going to break the mold a little and tell you about the best advice I’ve ever given to myself.
Without getting into too much detail (I’ll save that for another day) my Dad passed away unexpectedly my freshman year of college. It was rough. It still is rough because I don’t think I’ve fully mourned his death, even after 8 years. He was the best man I’ve ever known and for him to disappear from my life suddenly was gut-wrenching and unfair.
I wanted to bury my head in bed and hide from the world but obviously that isn’t a choice because even though you just lost the most important person in your world – life goes on, with or without you. It’s a very hard pill to swallow.
The weeks and months after his death are very fuzzy, I remember going through the motions of a normal college kid but hating every minute of it. My life consisted of pretending to be a happy college kid on campus and then crying alone in my room so no one would feel bad for me.
Then one day something made me laugh, I can’t remember what it was, but I let out a full roaring laugh. I gasped and held my hands over my mouth. I was mortified.
I felt guilty for laughing. I was supposed to be sad. Sad people can’t laugh. Especially people who just lost their Dad. Was I disrespecting my Dad by laughing? Will he think that I forgot about him? Will people think I’m heartless or cruel for being happy when I should be undoubtedly sick with sadness? So I stopped laughing, for a while.
Fast forward to a few months later I woke up one day and found myself completely miserable. I mean absolutely horrifically miserable and sad. I scowled at people walking to and from class. I ignored phone calls from family and friends. I was sad and just wanted to cry. After a full day of sulking, I got that terrible guilt feeling bubbling up from the pit of my stomach again. I felt immature for acting so poorly.
After I said those words to myself I realized I was too worried about what other people were thinking. It was around that time that I vowed to myself that I’d act out my emotions as I felt them.
You should never apologize for your feelings. You can’t help how you feel. It’s human nature. When you feel happy – enjoy it. When you feel sad – have a good cry and let it out. When you feel goofy – go ahead and be silly! No good ever comes from bottling your emotions since they tend to fester in your body like poison. You don’t have to mask your emotions just because you think you should feel or act a certain way.