Tag Archives: Negativity

Positivity, how it can harm and how it can help you.

Positivity has become fashionable. And as somebody who’s never taken to the EMO culture, I’m glad. But as with everything else, there’s a healthy and unhealthy approach to positivity. And as positivity focused as I am, I can also be annoyed by some of the mantras circulating on social media and among friends.

 

Positivity is harmful when you take it too literally. When you block out the hurt and sadness that comes with living by trying to shake it off with mantras like “Oh well, I’m grateful to have the gift of life”, or something equally Pollyanna like, you’re not really dealing with the negative things that come your way and that’s not healthy.

 

Imagine a dinner plate. Initially it’s clean. Then you eat fish, the next day you have pork, the next day lentils and then chicken and so on. And you don’t clean the plate between meals other than sprinkling some water on it. Though the plate is physically okay to eat from, the residue from the earlier meals will be there and eventually as you eat from the plate and never wash it, all sort of disgusting organisms might start building their own dinner plate colony.

 

By always smiling and reciting positive mantras, your mind will end up as grimy as that dinner plate. And eventually the positivity will turn on you and you might have a mental breakdown which it might take both time and professional help to recover from.

 

Let’s go back to the dinner plate. Say now that you do clean it after every meal. You’ve taken time to clear any traces of the previous meal away and the plate is as good as new. That is also how you should treat your mind. It won’t be a guarantee against long term depression, but by going through your negative experiences and dealing with them in a way that works for you, will be helpful in keeping a good mental hygiene. Everything will probably be ok and improve tomorrow, but get the hurt out so that you start off with a clean slate.

 

And what about when it won’t be ok? How do you use positivity towards someone who is terminally ill in respectful manner that’s not gonna infuriate them? I’m no psychologist, but I’ve experienced enough terminal illness with close family members that I have an idea. It’s not something that will be deemed positive in the traditional sense.. But if you think that being there by a terminally ill loved one who more than anything wants you by their side isn’t a good thing, though sad, then isn’t that a form of positivity? And as what to say to them, stay away from “It’ll be fine”; unless they believe in an afterlife that you know they’re keen on getting too. , I think the safest thing is to say “I’m here, I’m not going anywhere and I’m letting you know. It’s up to you what you wanna do with that information.”

 

Positivity isn’t just about good visible results and happy endings. Positivity is about love, self-belief, living in the now, being comfortable with yourself and your emotions, being a good friend and those moments and experiences that keep you moving forward. It is also about cleaning out the old and making space for the new.

 

Positivity is a powerful and constructive tool that can make life more bearable. But be mindful, which is another annoyingly trendy word, of how you manifest it. There’s nothing wrong with mantras. But for your own sake, it’s better to use mantras that you can live by and stand for. But I think mantras are very personal and in my experience it’s better to project positivity onto someone else by actions rather than just than mantras.

Self-improvement lesson 2. It’s not you, it’s them!

This is perhaps the most powerful lesson I’ve learned. I guess we’ve all been in situations where we’ve been unfairly criticized by someone we know, or being knocked down about our ambitions and goals for no reason. And unless you know you’re receiving some form of constructive criticism, I can almost certainly tell you that the negativity you receive is the insecurities and envies of the person doing it.

 

This should really make sense. We’ve all been in a place where we might envy somebody, generally had a shitty day, or just felt that everyone else seems to do so much better than us, and come with crass remarks we don’t really mean when someone is being all positive. Or if not, the thoughts of what you’d like to say to them might have been there. But it can be very easy to forget this. Especially if the person knocking you down is someone close to you and if the thing they’re discouraging you from is a dream you’ve had for a long time.

 

When I decided to pursue my music, I received quite a few negative comments. Some of them were concerns for my wellbeing, but in hindsight I know a number of the comments were envy from people who’d never had the guts to pursue their dreams or people who had failed as musicians.

 

The next time somebody is being especially harsh towards you, just stop for a second and put yourself in their shoes, or try to see it from their point of view. Instead of getting defensive, ask yourself what’s going on in their life for them to be the way they are. You’ll probably still feel hurt by their words, but you’ll save a lot of energy that you might previously have used to analyse why, how and are they right. Constructive criticism usually comes out of good conversations and has a whole different feel to it. And whilst we never need to be knocked down, a dose of honest criticism is something we should appreciate.

 

I’ve also noticed that some people thrive on fighting and constant disagreement, because it’s a way for them to keep you in their life. Especially if they know that you wouldn’t necessarily be there otherwise, if you have nothing in common. So in some twisted way, it can be a compliment if someone is constantly aggressive towards you. But whether you’d like such a presence in your life is up to you. I know I can’t deal with it, because it drains my energy. So I move away from those situations. I firmly believe that if someone is meant to be in your life for more than a season or a reason, they will come back. In this instance, meaning that those people who approach you with negativity will come back to you differently. And if not, it’s okay. Especially if you’ve done what’s in your power to improve things.