We are often told as kids not to cry, to keep a stiff upper lip and to put a smile on our faces regardless of how we really feel. I don’t recall ever having an adult tell me to wallow in my sorrows or feel the pain. So I grew up thinking that pushing my true feelings down was the right thing to do.

Flash forward to being a woman in her forties and those feelings from years past want to bubble up and up and up. And there’s no stopping them.

There is no more suppressing them and quite frankly, I don’t think I want to. Why do we have to suck it up and act like everything is great when in fact it isn’t?

Who made that rule?

If meditation has taught me one thing, it is to be present even with the bad stuff. Rather than brushing off life and rushing through it, we are meant to experience every last moment — good or bad.

So, I have challenged myself to be so present that I am hearing my kids fight, smelling and tasting the dinner I burned, seeing the dirty floor and feeling overwhelmed. If that is what I am feeling, I am going to feel it 100 percent. As odd as it may seem, I am grateful for all these things I am experiencing.

By actually allowing ourselves to experience our feelings when they are present, we will eliminate them from paying us an unexpected visit twenty years from now. Giving ourselves permission to fully experience pain and pleasure equally, will pave the way for a genuinely happier future.

So, the next time you feel sad, anxious or even completely pissed off, close your eyes, breathe and sit with it. See your feeling and actually talk to it, walk with it. If you get to know something, it’s a lot easier to make amends with it and set it free.

It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

Feel it. Accept it. Let it go.

Originally published at www.happinessdepends.com.

Originally published at medium.com