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New book tells us to stop wallowing in the dark




In conversation with his Wednesday ChaiFM Morning Mayhem co-host Howard Sackstein, Feldman launched his latest book, Smile, Dammit!, encouraging his readers to add a healthy dose of positivity to their everyday lives.

“You can be an optimist at any time,” says Feldman. “That doesn’t mean that you can walk around with a smile on your face all the time, but it’s not about being happy at every moment. It’s about having internal confidence, and a belief that even if you’re sitting in the dark, ultimately the lights will come on.”

Feldman stresses that he hates defining any book as a “self-help guide”. He says that his book is not a prescriptive volume, but one which encourages readers to consider whether negativity has a hold over them.

“We often feel safe in a negative space,” he says. “We are familiar with it, and we come to expect it, so we feel comfortable. Although it may disappoint, we must find the courage to move into a space that is not familiar, but which will better for us.”

Although life challenges are almost guaranteed, they are the vehicles through which we learn to hone coping mechanisms and a positive outlook, he says.

“You can’t go through life without facing adversity. Anyone who believes that they can is delusional. We will face trials, and the more we are able to cope, the greater our chances. As long as you understand that you have a goal, that will allow you to find a purpose.

“Don’t get lost in the darkness. We will all experience it, and to think otherwise is naïve.”

The key, he says, is to recognise your purpose, one which will gear the everyday towards meaningful living. “We need to understand what our purpose is. It took me a long time. Many of us can find fulfilment within what we do every day, be it family, work, or the community – whatever fuels us. We don’t always need to throw things out to find our purpose.”

Instead, he says, we must look honestly at ourselves, and find what we need individually, even if it means exploring uncomfortable spaces. “If we aren’t prepared to go into dark places that scare us because we’re unsure of what we will find, then I’m not sure we can find lasting positivity. We mustn’t wallow in a cycle of darkness. We need to bring difficult aspects towards the light and understand what our fears are and what holds us back.”

He concludes, “We can train ourselves to look at the world and ourselves differently. We need to understand why we behave the way we do if we want to find positivity in our world.”

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