‘Be positive’… this is a phrase that we have grown up hearing and imbuing. There is no denying the unprecedented power of optimism in life. Positivity or optimism has the potential to boost confidence, curb destructive behaviour and improve life’s purpose. BUT, delving deeper into the same, can we truly be positive at all times?
Is being consistently Positive Possible?
People may go through broken relationships, lost jobs or failures in their educational endeavours. In such situations, demanding them to see life in a positive light and move ahead actually impacts the mind in a negative way. You are then left to ponder- are they really being well-wishers and empathetic? Are they putting themselves in your shoes and still asking you to be positive? Would they be able to do the same had they been in your position?
Life is not meant to be a bed of roses, and if you are continuously trying to practise an ‘all positive’ approach, it would only depict a sense of over-confidence while not actually being happy.
Simply putting aside the painful aspects of life for the time being, does not make them less impactful. In fact, it has been seen that sharing and talking about the negative emotions, does help in providing some relief to the mind. Hence, being overtly positive then, turns out to be a curse, as you feel your thoughts and emotions are being silenced and neglected and you feel distressed and restless about your condition.
Constant Be Positive is a bane…
Here are some ways in which excess of positivity which is also termed as toxic positivity turns out to be a bane rather than a boon.
1/4. Be Positive adds to Stress
“Everything will work out in the end.”
A number of psychological studies on the effect of excessive positivity or unrealistic optimism have shown that those who claim to be happy because of their ‘everything is awesome’ attitude, actually suffer more internally.
Research participants in the experiments exhibited that the group who were asked to pour forth their emotions on watching a show were better able to handle the situation than those who suppressed their feelings. Even though excessive outburst of negative emotions are not always welcomed, giving way to your emotions, at times, is better than putting up a fake cheery disposition.
Getting rid of our negative emotions of our body helps us cope better with life’s challenges and leads to a more sane and healthy attitude.
2/4. Can add to Shame and Guilt
‘Don’t worry, things will be fine, be positive’
You feel you have been the one who had been unnecessarily pessimistic about things happening in your life and you are not putting enough efforts to brush aside your negative thoughts… So you tend to keep your negative thoughts under wraps and put up a façade of happiness in front of others to present yourself as one whose life is just going great.
Subduing your emotions makes you brew with a kind of shame and guilt, often to leading to further detrimental situations of existential crisis.
3/4. Adds to Issues of Existential Crisis
‘Just change your outlook to be happy’.
When you delve deep within yourself beyond the physical realm of things and start indulging in moments of contemplation and questioning about the purpose of your life and whether it has any meaning, you are tending towards existential crisis.
You may feel that you have been pushed into a world may seem just merciless and meaningless- a world where people are governed by thoughts that do not match with yours and may seem unjustified. Hence, you may feel your very existence does not have any meaning in such a selfish world.
While questioning and introspecting about your deeds and your identity is normal as are feelings of anxiety or depression to a certain extent, yet when these very emotions come in bouts and make you feel isolated, existential crisis may take up a detrimental turn.
4/4. Be Positive can lead to Isolation from Others
‘Positive vibes only’’
Such statements from people who are apparently always happy or tread the path of optimism only often makes you isolated from them.
When someone tells you, ‘If I can, so can you’ you are left feeling that the person would not be able to understand and empathise your situations because they are simply denying listening to you on the face.
Even though the person may have been your best friend and may have your best intentions in mind, at that moment, you may just be feeling like withdrawing yourself from him/ her as you feel you cannot be yourself in his/ her presence.
How much of positivity ‘Be Positive’ is healthy?
Yes! Be Positive BUT anything beyond moderation or limits is bad and this holds true for positivity as well. At times, ‘It’s ok not to be OK’.
So if you have been practising too much positivity and having an unrealistic confidence about life, you may well be isolating your near and dear ones from yourself, while in reality, shutting your emotions from being expressed in a healthy way.
If you are the one who has been the butt of excessive optimism, speak out your mind and say the truth, keep yourself away from people who question your identity and your actual potential and tries to subdue you.
Life is to be lived with all its ebb and flow and it is this constant state of struggle to achieve your true potential against all odds that gives you the sense of satisfaction and achievement.