The Positivity Pandemic
Even when I was young and my ideas about the world we live in were still forming I often felt isolated by my views, thoughts and opinions. As an adult, as my ideas are stronger and clearer in my mind because I have a better understanding of the information I’m reading, people, society and how it works etc etc this feeling of isolation has only increased.
With the rise of social media, I feel more isolated in my views than ever because Im constantly subjected in no uncertain terms to nearly everyone on the planets opinions on the world. And it often doesn’t match mine. Not entirely anyway. Hardly at all (the obvious stuff like “hurting people is bad” aside) And I shouldn’t care I suppose and I wouldn’t, if I didn’t feel so isolated by it. As if depression didn’t make me feel disconnected enough.
One strong view I hold in particular that contributes to this feeling of isolation, although now I’m aware a handful of people seem to share my opinion on this it’s evident to me that the world at large doesn’t and that does make me feel quite alone. But I hold this stance regardless because I don’t adjust my views based on whether other people agree with me or not and I strongly believe it to be right. Or close enough to right as a person can be (what is right?!?)
This nationwide pandemic of “Positivity”. Not merely the concept of positivity understand but the way in which it has become used to passively , or not so passively, shame people for feeling emotions that although completely normal and often justifiable, have been labelled “bad” or “negative” or even “toxic” over the years.
I never liked how insincere, shallow and false this new type of positivity always felt
I happened to stumble across this brilliant little video on TED this morning. In it the well known psychologist, Susan David, states that
“When we push aside our emotions to embrace false positivity we lose the capacity to develop skills needed to deal with the world as it is, and not how we wish it to be”
That term. False positivity. I love it. It is exactly what I am against. Not positivity per say in it’s true sense. But against the false positivity being heavily pushed and promoted by people keen to show everybody just how much of a simply wonderful person they are!! And to shame those who have the audacity to acknowledge they feel bad.
“Positivity has become a new form of moral correctness”
It is so unhealthy, so damaging. Causing inner conflict and mental issues or causing further damage to pre-existing ones
My self- esteem suffered greatly under the constant barrage of the idea that in order to be accepted or desireable you must fart rainbows and shit glitter and burp sunbeams. If not, you are to be pitied and patronised at best, critiqued berrated and ostracised at worst
I went through something traumatic. As a result I often feel emotions that are considered ‘negative’. This is completely understandable and normal. And yes the state of my mind now is not healthy at all but the fact that I acknowledge my ‘negative’ emotions, identify and try to address them is.
True, I am not to be held up as a pinnacle of a healthy emotional state. But I have developed a much much greater understanding of myself and who I am by facing my all emotions head on. Looking at them. Studying them. I’ve learnt to articulate things I could never articulate before. I’ve learnt about my triggers and why they trigger me and when I need to stop. I’ve made connections and noticed patterns. I’ve a better understanding of what makes me tick and of what is detrimental to my well-being. An understanding that’s genuine and not one dictated to me by society’s ideal of what I should be feeling. It’s a continuous process, and I feel so much healthier for it
I have shed the idea now that I am simply a ‘negative’ person. I’m not. I’m kind, I’m sensitive, I’m friendly and empathetic. I’m loving and passionate and frequently impulsive. I’m helpful where I can be and I’m talkative. I’m emotional and creatively inclined but also a little bit logical. I am angry. I am hurt. I am frustrated. Sometimes shy. Very insecure. Often despairing. Often raging. Often anxious. Often crying. I am not positive.
I am human, with human emotions
As are we all
And neither I nor you should be judged for that