When we have a rigid idea in our heads of what we are supposed to be like, or what the world is supposed to look like, we get seriously confused and conflicted when external reality doesn't match up to that idea.
That's why idealists (and most everybody else) are usually bitter and frustrated.
Last night, my mother was so upset over a situation at work, that she popped a blood vessel in her right eyeball. All that built up pressure has to release some way.
My mother is a very spiritual person, and in the heat of the moment, crying and feeling generally miserable, she kept reminding herself of what she was "supposed" to be like.
"Be present to the moment!"
Tony Robbins says that you can only hold one thought in your mind at one time, so if you think about something positive, you can't feel bad.
And, well... sure, I guess. In theory, theory and practice all works out the same. In practice it doesn't.
When my mom was feeling all of these negative emotions, her notions of what she was "supposed" to be like just created more frustration. More obstruction.
Anything in life can be reduced to either flow or obstruction. Even supposedly positive ideas can create massive obstruction.
I'm not saying that being present to the moment is bad advice. No, it's supremely important. My point is that when you are in that insane, intense emotional state, that's a very bad time to practice.
No matter how spiritually or emotionally mature and developed you are, you will still feel like shit from time to time.
When that happens, relax into it. The only way out is through, and trying to distract yourself with flowery advice from your favorite guru will only make the pain that much worse.
The urge to do so comes from our belief that feeling negative emotions is a bad thing. Which it's not. It's just part of the human experience. That's one of the ways you know that you're alive. Cherish it.
In my book, I confused a lot of people when I said that I'm usually happy when I'm sad, and this is what I meant. I really feel quite content with life, happy in the moment, regardless of my emotional state.
You can develop the ability to distance yourself from your own emotions, both positive and negative, and observe them from the outside. What some spiritual folks call "witnessing." I think.
Being angry or upset or frustrated or joyful or excited or whatever else -- all just part of the emotional spectrum that is built into your system as a human being.
It's not bad or wrong, it's just what is. And when it happens, trying to resist it is futile.
It all comes down to acceptance. When you are honest and you live in the world as it is, and not how you think it should be, you grow to accept all that is, as it is, unconditionally.
That's when the struggle ends.
Whatever you're struggling with in your life, acceptance is key. Acceptance is everything, because the only way out is through. Resistance is futile.