This week, I’m challenging the belief many of us are taught that positive feelings are good, and negative feelings are bad. And if you’re confused, questioning why this needs to be challenged at all, I invite you to listen in closely.
We’ve been conditioned to believe that if we aren’t happy and positive all the time, something has gone terribly wrong. It means we’re doing life wrong, trying to get pregnant wrong, that we’re failing, and that we need to overhaul and fix our lives. What if I told you this belief is a detriment to you and that we actually shouldn’t and don’t want to be happy all the time?
Tune in today to discover how you might be adding more pain and drama to your negative feelings, and why thinking you should be happy when you’re feeling anything but isn’t serving you. I’m sharing tools to help you understand why it’s okay to be sad, and to help you process your human emotions in a more healthy way to help you get the results you want in your life.
Hi friends. Welcome to Fearless Infertility a podcast for women struggling with the mental anguish that comes with infertility. My name is Jenica and after suffering in silence for too long I was able to pull myself out of the dark, take control over my mind, and create joy during my infertility experience. I’m here to help you do the same, sister. Let’s dive into today’s show.
We have been conditioned to think that having positive feelings is good and having negative feelings is bad. And I want to really challenge that in this podcast episode. Because I think that the way that we treat ourselves and the way that we process our emotions is a detriment to ourselves a lot of the time when we think that we are doing something good for ourselves.
I will be sharing with you tools in this episode to help you understand why it's okay to be sad. And to be able to help you process your emotions in a more healthy way to be able to get the results that you want to in this life and in infertility.
Hey guys. Welcome back to Fearless Infertility. I’m so glad to have you here today. And I was just thinking this week how incredibly lucky I am to be in this position with you. And I just want to thank you for being here. I have met and communicated with some of the most incredible women on the planet. And although we find ourselves in this community that we don't necessarily want to be in, there are so many silver linings and so many cool people here. Like so many cool people.
So I just feel really grateful to be able to share these tools with you. Genuinely, if I kept these all to myself, and all of the time that I spent learning them, and all of the money that I spent learning them for you, I kept to myself, it would still have been worth it for me. Because these tools have changed my life so drastically that it would have been worth all of the money, all of the time. But I also feel that it is such a privilege to be able to share these tools with you. And I'm so glad that you are here today and always.
So first I wanted to start out with some of the podcast reviews. They are so much fun for me to read through. And I'm still doing the podcast review giveaway. So if you want to enter please leave a podcast review on Apple Podcasts. And if you don't know how to do that, just go to the podcast section of thesliceofsun.com and we have instructions there.
The winner of this week's Slice of Son pajama and sock set, girl you're lucky. Okay, let me just say you are about to have a treat sent your way. These are literally the most comfortable pajamas of your life. They literally feel like butter. I'm like, “How did we make a pajama that feels like butter?” How is it not melting? That's what I want to know. I'm so excited for you.
JMoSeal, you are the podcast giveaway winner of this week for writing a review and subscribing on Apple Podcasts. Her review said, “Favorite podcast. I am so excited about this podcast. Jenica is wonderful and such a huge advocate for women with infertility. She's created an incredible community of women that support each other. And a podcast is a natural next step to help reach even more people. Plus, she is not just helpful, open about her journey, and very positive, but she is hilarious. Love her.”
Girl, I love you. And it feels a little indulgent reading these but I also feel like this podcast and this work isn't about me, I'm just a tool to get you, or I guess like some hands to give you the tools that I've learned. I'm just the path to get them. So we're going to go ahead and give all the credit to the incredible model that I teach and to the truth that is out in the universe that I just simply have learned and am passing along to you.
I absolutely love reading your reviews. And another one is by Pat Cabrera. She says, “It is so beautiful to see a woman that takes a challenging and hard experience as an opportunity to benefit and support so many more women. I love this podcast. Even though I didn't struggle with infertility, I've been through other difficulties, health related, and the things that Jenica says here are very useful and encouraging for me or anyone that is experiencing any other situation. Also, I have to say that the quality of the sound is very good. And the way that she talks is so natural that helps to connect with the listeners. Really good job.” I love you Pat Cabrera. Thank you so much, that is so kind of you.
And I love that you said this too, because I completely agree. We all have challenges, right? Infertility is not our only challenge. And so I absolutely love that you can use these tools to apply to any challenge or any trial in your life. And so, at any time you can choose the way that you feel based on these tools that I am teaching you and I think it's so life changing.
Today I am going to be talking about why it's okay to be sad. And most of us are trained that happiness is always the goal. And if we aren't happy then we are doing it wrong. We are doing life wrong. We are trying to get pregnant wrong. We are failing. We did something wrong and we need to change it and fix it.
We are taught and believe that we if we aren't happy and positive all of the time, then something has gone terribly wrong. We typically believe one of two things. One, it is our job to fix it, because where we are right now is not okay. Or worse, that someone else is to blame and we are victims, and are unable to change it unless an external circumstance changes. Unless they stop doing this, or they stop doing that, or this thing stops happening, or this thing starts happening. We have to wait. We're a total victim.
And I want to challenge you that both of those things are not true. First, I want to remind you that if you are unhappy It is because of a thought that you are having. There is an external circumstance that you don't feel anything about. It's completely neutral to you until you have a thought about it. And I want to give you an example that I think a lot of us can relate to.
Have you ever woken up in the morning during a time in your life that you found extraordinarily challenging, but you woke up as a blank slate? For the first few minutes of being awake, you didn't feel happy or sad, you felt free almost. There wasn't anything weighing on you. You're lying there, you're not maybe fully conscious yet, but you're awake.
And then you have a thought about that circumstance in your life that is extremely challenging. And you suddenly feel a huge weight fall on your body. Your thoughts turn to that circumstance that is incredibly difficult and you are remembering the thoughts that are causing you so much pain about the circumstance you were experiencing. And you immediately go from feeling light to heavy and sad.
That circumstance was neutral. And we know that because when we're not conscious of it we're not feeling any certain way about it. You felt fine until that thought came into your mind. As soon as that thought came into your mind, that's when you had a feeling.
So when we aren't happy because we are thinking a thought about a circumstance in our life that is leading us to feel unhappiness, or whatever undesired emotion we don't want, we often make it worse because we add layers and layers of thoughts about it. That it's not okay to feel that way because we have a rule that we don't ever want to be sad.
And I have caused so much additional pain and drama in my own life by doing this. I thought that it was actually serving me, right? It seems like a really helpful thought, “I should be happy. I should be happy most of the time.” That thought seems incredibly helpful, right? It seems like a very valiant, positive, happy thought. But when we think about what it's doing is, it's essentially not allowing us to be human beings or feel regular human emotions when we go through certain circumstances and maybe want to feel like a human. And we want to be able to process those emotions.
For example, with my infertility I didn't want to be happy about it all the time. I think that I can be happy about it because I can choose thoughts that allow me to feel peace. And I've talked about that in prior episodes, including episode one where I talk about the thought that really brought me peace and always was my safe thought. But I don't always want to feel happy about it. Sometimes I want to be sad about it.
I think that there is opposition in all things for a reason. And I think that honestly, life would be really boring if it was happy all the time, because we wouldn't have anything to compare it to. So if I was genuinely happy all of the time, I wouldn't really be happy because I wouldn't be able to compare that happiness to the opposite. So honestly, it would just be neutral all the time. There wouldn't be ups and downs, it would be extremely neutral.
My issue, I think, for so many years that caused so much additional drama and pain to my life is experiencing something that I thought was difficult in my mind and not allowing myself to feel the negative emotions that came with that thought about my circumstance. Infertility being one of them. I would have a bad few moments, right? And bad is relative, what I deemed to be a negative moment for myself during infertility. And I would let myself feel that feeling for a few minutes. And then I would have another thought layered on top of that, that said I shouldn't feel this way.
So I would do things like totally push away the thoughts that were allowing me to process my experience with infertility and not allow myself to process them normally and in a healthy way. And it would also layer on a lot of guilt because I would think to myself thoughts like, “I'm not allowed to feel certain things because there's so many good things that are going on in my life.” Like I had a good marriage, I had a good job. Who am I to feel bad, right? I'm not allowed to feel bad about infertility because I have so many other amazing things going for me.
Well, guess what, Jenica a ton of people have lots of amazing things going for them, and they also have really hard things going for them too. And it's okay. That's what I want to tell you today is that it's genuinely okay if you're not feeling happy all of the time. If you're going through something hard, it doesn't mean that something's gone terribly wrong. Maybe it's supposed to be hard. Maybe we learn things through hard experiences that we go through.
There are lessons in feeling happy and feeling sad. And the thoughts that I continued to have when I was experiencing infertility that wouldn't allow me to process were that I shouldn't feel that way. And of course, I should feel that way. I was feeling that way. That's how I know I should feel that way is because I was feeling that way. If I want to change how I'm feeling, absolutely, I can do that. But I don't necessarily think it's a positive thing to quickly go from a negative feeling to a positive feeling. Or what you deem as negative or positive all the time.
Another thing I want you to be aware of is that circumstances don't need to change for us to feel better if we want to feel better. I don't think that we should feel happy all the time. I don't think that if I came to you and said, “You're not allowed to feel sad about your infertility.” That that's a healthy thing for anybody.
Now, we're human beings, we have a 50/50 experience in this life. There is genuinely opposition in everything. There is light, there's dark, there is cold, there is heat, why would our emotions be any different? We are the standard by which the world is created from. We are the most incredible complex beings in existence. And of course nature would follow us. So why would you be any different from what we see all around us?
I love, however, that at any given time we know that it's not the circumstance that is making us feel a certain way. It is simply our thoughts. And the amazing thing about this is that we're in control, right? And I'm not saying, like I said, that I want to be happy all the time. I want to be sad sometimes about my infertility. But the great thing is, is that I know that I'm in control of that. And I'm choosing that based on my thoughts about my infertility. If I want to feel better, and if I want to change how I'm feeling, I know that I'm in control of that. But it's okay to choose to feel sad.
It was so interesting, because after my kids were born, I had never thought that this was an actual real thing. When people said I'm eating my feelings, I genuinely thought that they were joking. And I thought it was funny because it kind of sounds funny, right? It's like, “I'm eating my feelings.” And I'm like, “Okay, funny joke. Cool.” Because I'd never had experience with that before. I've always liked to eat. I always truly, genuinely, honestly, probably more than most people genuinely enjoy a good bite of food, an incredible meal, I just really feel like it's part of an incredible human experience. I feel great about that.
But I'd never turned to food to make me happy or make me sad. And honestly, I didn't really realize I was doing it for so long. But I think because I had experienced infertility, and I had my kids, and I was so happy and grateful that I got to be a mother when I didn't think that that would ever come for me, that I kind of carried that thought that I had during infertility, that I wasn't allowed to feel negative emotions, because there were so many good things going for me. I carried that into my motherhood as well.
And genuinely, being a mother to twins is difficult. Being a mother to one child is difficult. I think that's how it's supposed to be. I think there's a lot of beauty in that and that we learn so much about ourselves, and about selflessness.
But regardless, I just didn't let myself think that that was okay. I was like, “No, everything's fine, we're fine. We're keeping it together.” And then after I would put them to bed, I would just go to the pantry and just eat lots of candy. And I genuinely felt in the moment, because temporarily I did feel a little bit better. It gave me a little dopamine hit. It gave me a sugar rush. I temporarily felt simple pleasure for a moment that distracted me from the stress and anxiety and just the fact that I was having a really hard time with raising twins.
And the problem with doing this is that you temporarily feel good in the moment, but you're not processing the truth of your feelings. You're pretending that they're not real and that this temporary solution will make them go way. And the problem is, is that it doesn't make them go away. They're still there, you're just not processing them. And then you have all of these other layered complications, like eating a ton of sugar, that could be weight gain, that could be health issues, that you're not actually dealing with the problems.
And so I was essentially hiding from myself. And I genuinely didn't believe that I was doing this for a long time. I didn't even realize I was doing it. And then all of a sudden, I was like, “Wow.” Like my kids would be doing something, making a big mess and I would just kind of run in the pantry be like, “Oh my gosh, I just need a gummy real quick.”
And then I was like, “Wow.” I kind of started recognizing that this was something that I was doing. And I started getting very curious about it. And asking myself, like, “Why am I doing this?” And I genuinely didn't know what I was doing at first. I like, honestly thought that it was a great solution until I started questioning myself. And I said, “Why am I doing this?” And I thought, “Well, when I'm doing it, I'm really overwhelmed. And I'm also trying to procrastinate.” And then I would ask myself, “When I'm really overwhelmed and when I'm trying to procrastinate, what am I thinking?”
And I kind of went back to the steps of what this behavior was coming from. And in the model we know, the action line is what I'm referring to, and I was eating. So I go back to, “Okay, how was I feeling when I was eating? Overwhelmed. Okay, why was I feeling overwhelmed?” And we go back to the thought, “This is incredibly difficult raising twins.” And what if I just let myself be sad? It took me months and months and months to realize that this was becoming such an issue for me. I wasn't allowing myself to just be sad for a minute.
What if I just let it be hard? It's hard. Raising twins is hard. That might not be a truth for other people. But it is for me. I'm so incredibly grateful. I'm so, so glad that I have them. And also, it's really hard. And I would do things too, I think this is something you can look out for when you are thinking thoughts that are resisting your feelings and resisting normal processing is saying things like should and shouldn't.
And trust me, I would love for things like that to work, right? They seem like a very good idea. Saying things like, “I shouldn't be here.” Or, “I shouldn't be thinking that.” Or, “I should be able to process this better.” Or, “I'm not allowed to feel certain things.” For me, the biggest indicator when I am trying to resist emotions and resist processing in a healthy way is the words should and shouldn't. When I say things like oh, I shouldn't be doing this, or I shouldn't be doing that, that is a flat-out indicator that I am resisting whatever it is that I should be processing.
And trust me girls, if you could control things I wouldn't be here on a podcast talking about infertility, if it worked. If trying to control your life and saying you shouldn't be sad, and all things should be happy. And we should be fine all the time. If that worked and you could control it, I would have figured it out by now. But it doesn't work.
What does work is sitting in it. Let yourselves be sad sometimes. Let yourselves be not okay. Feeling it and not pushing it away and realizing that this is how it's supposed to be, because it is. And truly how could we know joy without the pain. It literally wouldn't even be amazing. If you didn't have the opposite to compare it to joy wouldn't even be cool, it'd be boring. You wouldn't even be able to have anything to contrast it with.
We are humans and we are 50/50 whether we are here, or whether we are there. The circumstances that we are in don't have to change for us to feel how we want to feel. And you know what's interesting, is that I have learned so much about this specific topic and just being, and living, and being okay with being in the present moment with how things are and feeling my emotions with how they are from observing my kids when they're sick.
Kids are incredible because they don't have all of these internal manuals on how we should and shouldn't be. They just live. They’re in the present moment. They don't look too far into the future. And obviously, as adults, we need to be able to do that in order to survive, and plan, and create. But I also think there's so much good to be learned from that. And I think that we oftentimes need to unlearn a lot of the things that we have learned that we've thought are helpful and helpful to us, that really are just getting in the way of us living a full life.
And observing my kids when they're sick has taught me so much because they have a cold and their noses will be running, and they’ll be coughing. And yeah, like it won't feel good, right? They're not thinking to themselves things like, “Oh, I'm glad I feel amazing.” Because that's not true. They don't feel amazing. But they're also not resisting, and like, “I feel crappy. And I'm mad that I feel so awful. I shouldn't be feeling awful right now.” Well, they have colds, we're doing everything that we can to get rid of the colds, we're resting, we're taking medicine, we're staying home. But regardless of whether they think they should or shouldn't be sick, they're sick.
So thinking, “I shouldn't be sick. I'm mad that I'm sick. I'm so mad that I feel awful.” Won't get them better more quickly. They live in the present moment, they feel horrible, but they don't add in a lot of drama and wasting so much energy into thoughts that genuinely do not get them anywhere. They live in the moment, they accept what is, they do the best that they can. And they don't fight against it. Because it doesn't help.
You think about what that does, you know, for me as an adult for so many years I would get a cold and I would just be furious about it. I would be so annoyed. “I don't have time to get sick. I don't feel good. I'm so mad that I don't feel good.” How is that helping me? You know, how is that getting me any closer to not being sick by thinking that? They don't fight against reality. They don't fight against where they currently are. They don't feel well but they also don't make it any worse by saying, “I don't feel well but I should feel well. So I'm mad that I shouldn't be here.” Right?
And I think that that is such a good example for us as adults and us as women experiencing infertility to examine. I just think as adults, we add so much drama and so much pain to ourselves. And they’re thoughts that are very deceitful, because they're thoughts that we genuinely think will help us. But saying things like, “I shouldn't be experiencing infertility.” Well, we are experiencing infertility. So it would be great if that thought would actually magically make us not experience in it, but it doesn't. And so that thought isn't necessary and it adds on so much drama.
So I think that that is an unhealthy thought that doesn't serve us. Whereas a thought that allows us to feel clean pain, which I'll talk about in a different episode, but it allows us to feel and be present in the moment while also accepting our feelings.
An example thought of that would be, “I am really sad that I don't have a baby in my family right now.” Because you are and it's true. And you can let yourself feel that. And it's not pushing it away. And then you know when you want to feel happy, or you want to feel something maybe a little bit more productive, you can then change that thought to something that will allow you to feel more productive, to get you closer to reaching your goal of having or growing your family.
I think as human beings, and as women, we're incredibly difficult on ourselves. And we have these hidden manuals that sometimes we don't even know we have, on how we should live life and how we shouldn't live life. And how much joy we should experience and how much pain we should experience. And when we're not living up to that manual or those rules for ourselves we beat ourselves up.
So my challenge for you is to let yourself feel your feelings. Don't push them away. Don't do things that distract you from them this week. Allow yourself to feel them.
It is so interesting to me how much we are then able to get to those more positive feelings more easily and more efficiently when we allow ourselves to be a human and not add in so many layers of drama from things that we should or shouldn't do. I think it's so freeing for me to watch people that truly live into this.
I have a sister-in-law that is so good at feeling her emotions. She will be crying one minute and super upset one minute, and then five minutes later we'll be talking and she'll be fine. And it's because she's okay with being a human. I used to not allow myself to even get super upset because I thought that that was wrong. And I observed her and I was so amazed by it because she moved through her emotions so freely without beating herself up about it. And that's what I would love for all of you.
So this week I'd love for you to be observant about your feelings, and let yourself feel them. I love you guys so much. I am so honored to be here with you, sharing these tools with you that have genuinely changed my life and changed so many women's lives experiencing infertility. I will see you next week.
To celebrate the launch of the show I'm going to be giving away pajama and sock sets from The Slice of Sun that I have personally designed. They are the most buttery, soft, delightful things you'll ever put on your body. And I'm going to be giving away five bundles to five lucky listeners who subscribe, rate, and review the show on Apple Podcasts. It doesn't have to be a five-star review, although I sure hope you love the show. I genuinely want your honest feedback so I can create an awesome show that provides tons of value to you who are experiencing infertility.
Visit thesliceofsun.com/podcastlaunch to learn more about the contest and how to enter. And I'll be announcing the winners on the show in an upcoming episode.
Thank you for listening to Fearless Infertility. If you want more tools and resources to help you during your infertility experience visit thesliceofsun.com. See you next week.