The Downside to Positivity
How can positivity have a downside? I love positive messages but they don’t always help. Or, I should say, they don’t always help immediately. Yes, they can lift us up out of dark places and inspire us to forge ahead. However, if indiscriminately utilized, they can also stunt our growth.
As a child, I was repeatedly told to “smile, stop wallowing, snap out of it, and let it go”. In my family, experiencing and expressing any emotion other than happiness was not only “bad” but rather, it was considered to be indulgent and toxic. As a result, I buried my “shadow” feelings, told myself that I was “too” sensitive, and believed that something was wrong with me for not being permanently cheerful.
As I grew, I learned that hiding my authentic experience from myself and others derailed my development and relationships. Emotions give us data about ourselves and our world. They can be powerful, profound teachers– but only if we take the time to pause, feel, and reflect on them. When we ignore or deny our feelings, we are cutting off the richest source of information that we possess. Our “negative” affect (e.g., sadness, anger, despair, frustration) as well as our “positive” affect (e.g., happiness, joy, peace) help us connect with ourselves and each other.
I am a huge advocate of positive messages. They are wonderful sources of inspiration, hope and encouragement. However, I also have a deep respect for a wide range of emotions. I try to accept all of my feelings as they can guide my evolution. Once I have fully acknowledged and validated how I feel, I embrace beautiful, positive intentions and affirmations that I want to manifest in my life.