Personal blog

The problem with forced positivity

I feel like we live in a time where everyone is focused on ‘being positive’, which was reinforced when ‘The Secret’ came out. According to the law of attraction ‘like attracts like’ and in order to attract good things to you, you need to feel good first. Although I do believe in it, it almost makes me feel guilty when I’m having a bad day.

Social media are now so interwoven in our lives that some of us view it as ‘reality’, which is obviously isn’t. We very rarely post uninteresting or negative things on social media; it’s all very positive. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, but it does help to remember that we all go through hard times, even if we don’t tweet or Instagram about it. Somewhere I do feel there’s a shift happening – we don’t just want to see pretty pictures anymore. Just look at Essa O’Neill – a former Instagram model who publicly left social media a couple of months ago because her online modelling started taking a toll on her. She wrote: “As if being perfect, smiling and happy online was okay, even if you’re hiding real pain and torment inside”. This so perfectly describes why I wanted to write this blogpost. Thinking positive is a good thing, but there’s nothing good or admirable about hiding feelings like sadness and sorrow and forcing yourself to be positive.

Your thoughts form your reality

If you believe, like I do, that your thoughts and feelings form your own reality then you may sometimes become scared that when you are sad or angry you are attracting negative situations into your life. But trying to be ‘perfect’ and forcing yourself to stay positive all the time is not exactly good for your wellbeing and leads you to suppress the way you truly feel. I am a positive person, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get sad or angry from time to time. Trust me, I have plenty of reasons to cry or scream and sometimes I do. And when I do there are times I feel guilty about those feelings and scared that it will attract bad situations.

“Because you accept the rain as a present reality doesn’t mean that you believe all days are stormy” – Jane Roberts

I think the key is to not feel negative all the time, but allow yourself to feel whatever it is you’re feeling. There’s a reason these ‘negative’ feelings surface and it’s important to figure that out. Don’t pretend the feelings aren’t there are try to hide them, because this doesn’t eliminate them and it just makes you feel worse. Those feelings aren’t meaningless and the harder you try to force yourself to be more positive when you’re not, the worse you will feel. Being aware of the way you feel is so important because it’s the first step to understanding where those feelings come from and dealing with them.

Whenever you feel yourself getting sad or angry, it helps to take a moment to identify where they come from. Accept the feelings you’re having and don’t ignore them or substitute them with positive thoughts. Don’t be blind to the way you’re feeling, because you feel a certain way for a reason.

“You may at times wish a rainy day were a sunny one, but you do not stand at the window and deny that the rain is falling” – Jane Roberts

I believe the key is not to change your thinking and ignore your thoughts, but to change your beliefs. Your beliefs are, after all, the source of the way you are feeling. For instance, you cannot force yourself to be happy or positive while at the same time believing a certain situation is negative or believing you don’t deserve to be happy. Your beliefs determine how you interpret certain situations or emotions. For example, most of us think of anger and sorrow or sadness as very negative emotions. But sometimes sadness or anger can be hugely relieving, therapeutic even. It’s okay to be sad. I can feel immensely relieved after crying – so in what way is that negative?

We are human and we have a conscious mind, which means we have the power to force positive thoughts upon ourselves when we are feeling negative. But it is unnatural to force yourself to smile when you feel like crying. This feeling of sadness or sorrow is telling you something about how you’re feeling and you’re not a victim of this feeling. You’ve created it yourself, through your beliefs. By truly experiencing our emotions you are accepting you are feeling a certain way in a creating moment, but that doesn’t mean those emotions define your whole life.

One bad day ≠ a bad life

I think that’s the most important thing to realize: that one bad day does not mean a bad life. The key is to become more aware of your beliefs over time and understand how they lead you to feel a certain way. Your beliefs cause you to feel a certain way and you can change those beliefs, though it might take some time. Meanwhile, don’t hide or ignore any negative emotions or feelings you may have. It’s good to be a positive person most days, but it’s also perfectly okay to be angry, sad or frustrated. Just don’t let it rule your life.

Emmelyn X

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