Permission To Not Be Positive

“Sometimes I want to go home and stay out of sight for a long time”


This is a lyric from a song called ‘Van Occupanther’ by one of my favourite bands, Midlake which gets me every time. On listening to it today, it got me thinking especially about how it feels to ‘sometimes want go home and stay out of sight for a long time’.


Being online for example can be a wonderful thing and maybe the truth is that some people ‘lie’ about their online presence as they want to put on a ‘happy face’ on Facebook or maybe don’t feel strong enough or that it’s even appropriate to talk about things on their mind and share in such a public way. And of course, this sense of having to put on a brave/happy face can also be  a personal or professional pressure in our everyday lives.


The reasons for wanting to stay out of sight for a long time could include depression, loneliness, prospect of conflict or just having a bad day. We’ve all been there to some degree and some more than others. When we feel like this, many people focus on the positive solutions and offer up advice which can be and is certainly meant to be helpful. Statements in the manner of ‘You just have to focus on the positive’ are well-intentioned but like everything in life, the solution to each problem is not always the same. It needs to be flexible depending on the situation.


However, sometimes we do just need to ‘go home and stay out of sight’ if not for a long time, then at least for a while. We may come out the other side in a better way or not, but that’s not really the issue here.


It’s more about giving ourselves ‘permission’ to occasionally feel okay about setting aside positivity for a time to embrace sadness, which after all is an inevitable part of the human condition of which many people are quite naturally afraid.


Once we’ve spent a little more time with ourselves and our own sadness, we may then have gathered the strength to not only not be afraid of dealing with sadness itself, but also anything else which we may face in our lives, including perhaps the ability to be positive.

We can’t be positive all the time, however hard we may try. From time to time, I think we need to give ourselves permission to not be positive.


Read a previous post inspired by music Embracing The Melancholy.


Watch the video to ‘Van Occupanther’ by Midlake.



Embracing The Melancholy

It’s been raining here recently and while looking out at the downpour earlier today, it got me thinking about the nature of water. In the same way that perhaps water embraces and absorbs the energy around it to move forward, I noticed I was doing the same today.

I walk a lot here in Granada and when it’s raining, I often listen to what some may call ‘depressing’ music. A friend recently described it as ‘wallowing in sadness’, which I thought was a tad strong, but I see their point to some degree, however I prefer to use the term ’embracing the melancholy’.


At times like this, I like to see the rain as a gently invigorating and quietly powerful reminder of how we can choose to see the world or it could be argued that how we see situations is what’s important. If it’s raining, is it preventing me from what I want to do because I don’t like it and as a result, I’m not happy? Or is the rain an opportunity to use the new umbrella we got the other day and go for a walk to listen to your new favourite song which could make us happy? The rain is the fact. That will still be there, but how we see it is what’s different.


As I do, perhaps you find music helps you in all kinds of life situations. For example, it’s cold and wet outside today and I’m listening to ‘Song To The Siren’ by This Mortal Coil, one of the most so-called ‘depressing’ songs ever written and yet, I have always found it incredibly inspiring in its own quiet, gentle and daresay, melancholy way. I haven’t always felt as positive about rain, but with the combination of ‘Song To The Siren’ and today’s weather, perhaps that has changed as I feel more energised now than I have in a long while. Until the next melancholy emergency…