24 Jun The Tyranny of Positivity
We are caught up in a culture that values relentless positivity over emotional agility, true resilience, and thriving.
We’ve all seen “Good vibes only”, “Think positive, be positive”, “ Choose happinesses “.They make us think that life should be all roses and rainbows; we just need to choose the right state of mind. And, by extension, if you are struggling, you aren’t trying hard enough. You just need to change your mindset.
The problem is that life is not roses and rainbows, and we can’t experience good without bad.
There is an expectation that people should always look on the bright side of adversity and be grateful for the positives in a difficult situation.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-happiness. I like being happy. I’m a pretty happy person. But when we push aside normal emotions to embrace false positivity, we lose our capacity to develop skills to deal with the world as it is, not as we wish it to be.
So, what does this look like in practice?
When you feel a strong, tough emotion, don’t try to suppress it, don’t run away from it. Learn its contours, show up to the journal of your hearts.
What is the emotion telling you? And try not to say “I am,” as in, “I’m angry” or “I’m sad.” When you say “I am” it makes you sound as if you are the emotion. Whereas you are you, and the emotion is a data source. Instead, try to notice the feeling for what it is: “I’m noticing that I’m feeling sad” or “I’m noticing that I’m feeling angry.”
Dissociate yourself from the emotion, You are the thinking part, they are just emotions. For me, these are essential skills. When people are allowed to feel their emotional truth, engagement, creativity, and innovation flourish.
This is what I believe. Sometimes, when you really just feel awful about a certain situation, and the feelings don’t go away– those feelings are there for a reason. Instead of wasting time judging ourselves, or fearing others will judge us for our response, we need to trust that inner voice that tells us where we need to be.