Sylvia Boorstein in her book That's Funny, You Don't Look Buddhist, echoes the same message when she writes about her grandmother, who helped raise her. "She was sensibly philosophical about my moods. My sadness didn't worry her. On those occasions - which must have been frequent enough for me to remember - when I said 'I'm not happy!' she would say, 'Where is it written that you are supposed to happy all the time?' She must have said it kindly, because I don't remember it as a rebuke . . . I was reassured by my grandmother's response. I didn't feel I was making a mistake by feeling sad, and she didn't feel obligated to fix me."
Today, meet any complicated emotion - sadness, grief, anger, weariness, longing - with the deep understanding that you are not bad for having feelings. Wrap the emotions in gentle kindness. You may fear this acceptance might lead to self-indulgence, a pity-party, or lashing out at others. In truth, it is the belief that we are bad, not the emotions themselves, that lead to getting stuck in the emotions or acting harmfully.