YES, I SAID IT.
There is this culture of extreme positivity hovering around us and frankly, it goes too far sometimes. I don’t quite know where this need for constant and unbreakable positivity comes from, but it intrigues me. My problem isn’t with positivity itself; my problem lies with the extreme. As they say, “too much of anything, isn’t good for you”.
I know I must be careful to not appear as a hater because frankly, I am not. How can I hate positivity? I don’t know where I would be if I wasn’t an optimistic and positive person. I know I need positivity in my life, and it has gotten me out of some deep holes and difficult moments. Positivity is essential, crucial and a great skill to have. It is easy to be positive when things are going your way. It is insanely hard to be positive when you find yourself in a bind. We need positivity and optimism to live, to survive, to get over hurdles and obstacles, and to give meaning to our lives. I see negativity as being a negative person. I’ll describe it as people who have negative thoughts and actions, people who have a bad energy about them, who complain all the time, who are mean to others, and who overly spread stress, friction and resentment around them. That’s negativity to me. So, positivity up, negativity down.
I am not talking about people who seem to always be in a good mood. That is a deliberate and conscious choice people make and I applaud them for that. It isn’t easy to be in a good mood most of the time, because life isn’t easy or peachy every day. It takes a particular strength to brush off the mundane daily problems and annoyances. I am not talking about those people. I aspire to be like them on a daily basis. I actually admire people like that. One day, I will be like them!
I am talking about people who intentionally see the positive in everything. That is utterly impossible, not improbable. It takes a particular mindset to see the positive in EVERYTHING. Frankly, let’s be honest, let’s be real, I can’t see anything positive about rape, war, famine or abusing kids. Yet, there are people who will do anything to convince you after convincing themselves first I assume, that there is a positive in everything. Yeah…it is so easy to talk about positivity in everything when you are not starving, or when bombs aren’t going off a few meters away from you. So, I will disagree with the whole “there is a positive in everything” motto. I personally find it incredibly insulting to the victims or to those who suffer and those who are going through hard times.
So, what is the reason people say there is a positive in everything? I sincerely cannot get it. Perhaps I am not meant to get it since my mindset isn’t wired that way. I have another question; are these people really too positive or are they trying to deny negativity? Please keep in mind, negativity is a disease, a darker and worse virus than the current coronavirus. Negativity has a subtle way of getting into your bloodstream. Once there, it festers, grows, and leaves only devastation.
I talked to some of the few overly and eagerly positive people who are too positive; they told me they do whatever they can to ignore negativity. They say they don’t watch the news because it shows them the ugly side of life. They don’t like sad stories for the same reason. They don’t use certain words because they are filled with negativity, words like “can’t, won’t, never, don’t, angry, pissed off, small, jealous” and so many more. I feel like they intentionally limited their vocabulary but that’s none of my business.
I consider this way of thinking immensely dangerous. It sounds like denial and there is nothing more dangerous than denial. There are ways of thinking and talking designed to conceal the truth and I despise those ways, with every fiber of my being. In business, a company doesn’t have “problems”, it has “challenges”. That is a blatant example of hiding or even disguising the truth. The word “problem” has a negative connotation in people’s minds, and the word “challenge” sounds like something easier to overcome. “Challenge” sounds like a learning opportunity. Yet, if a company’s software operating system goes down, that’s a problem, not a challenge. The former is the assessment of the situation and the latter is the process to solve the predicament.
Is there a way to only see the world in a positive, optimistic, and shiny way? Yes, there is. But, let me ask you something; acknowledging the undeniable existence of bad things is a bad thing? How is that possible? Someone, please explain this to me. Make it make sense, I beg you. I can see people saying “Freeman, your mind is made up and you can’t/won’t consider other people’s perception and interpretation of facts”. I can accept that criticism. Nevertheless, how about simple facts? Let’s forget the interpretation of said facts. What if we were to talk simple facts? No interpretation, no subjectivity, no personal feelings, just facts. Let’s talk about facts. Let’s talk about the negative side of life, let’s talk about this heavy and taboo side of life. Negativity exists, you don’t have to bathe in it, you simply need to accept it exists. You simply need to acknowledge it. Once again, there is nothing wrong with that.
It feels like people are trying to act as if certain situations, words, and feelings don’t exist. It also feels like people hope by giving a different name to a situation, it changes the nature of the situation. That is foolish, counterproductive and it never, ever fixes the problem. By not talking about bad and negative things, we allow plagues like sexual violence, child molestation, social injustice and so many more things to stay alive. They exist. Talking about them isn’t about being negative; it’s about acknowledging how life is. Who really believes life is only about sunshines and rainbows to quote Rocky Balboa?
I ask you; Is there a more dangerous thing than denying reality? Negative things exist. Bad things exist. Evil exists. Some people are fucked up. Some situations are even more fucked up. There is nothing wrong with saying that. People lost their lives, their livelihood, and mental illness cases are at an all-time high today because of the pandemic. There is nothing wrong with acknowledging our current situation. There is nothing wrong with acknowledging things, whether good or bad.
Personally, I can’t help it. I am a reality junkie. Some would argue I love reality because my life hasn’t been particularly hard, and I got no traumas to escape. Oh, come on, cut the crap! Reality isn’t that much subjective at times. Things are bad and as condescending as it sounds, it’s ok to admit things are bad. How are we going to find a solution to a problem if we can’t even acknowledge said problem to begin with? Downplaying a situation is a disservice we are doing to ourselves and especially to those primarily affected by the “bad” or “negative” situation.
I am not asking people to stop being positive. I encourage everybody to be positive, to be optimistic, to see the good before the bad, to try and learn from bad situations and mistakes. However, do not be ashamed of recognizing that negative and bad things exist. Denial is the first symptom of a deeper illness.
Accept that sadness, powerlessness, hopelessness, mental disease, loneliness, anxiety, fear, evil, dishonesty, hate, pride, resentment, envy, jealousy, racism, homophobia, sexism, and so many more negative or bad feelings exist. Saying those words is not the same as embracing them. Saying those words allows us to identify what is going on so we can improve and be better.
Be positive all you want. Nevertheless, do not create your own reality where only positive things and thoughts exist.
One last thing; not everyone will see things as positive all the time. So, please choose your moments and words carefully when someone is going through something hard and hurtful. It’s about consideration and respect.
Just one man’s opinion.
Now smile and go on with your day!