This is probably one of the most overused quotes we commonly post, tweet or say every time we encounter problems or challenges in our lives. However, this innocent and seemingly lifting quote might be one of the most, if not, problematic quotes you could say to yourself and others.
You may let out a slight “what is he talking about?” after reading that but let me explain why that quote, although positive in a sense, is actually negative in certain aspects.
Thinking positively can help you cope with the daily adversities of life. It gives a sense of happiness and hope, helps you appreciate what you have, see the bright side of life, become optimistic and expect the best to happen. Also, this will help you expect success instead of failure, feel inspired, look at failures and problems as blessings in disguise, and the list goes on. If you look at the bright side, well, your life will be filled with light and change the way you look at the world.
If that’s the case, then why is it negative?
We are all in pursuit of happiness. This might be the most likely reason why we always try to be positive. But sometimes, we tend to take these benefits for granted by using them as a band-aid solution to make us feel good. We create unrealistic scenarios in our heads about a situation getting better without thinking about how to actually make it better. This is where toxic positivity takes place. It is the excessive and ineffective overgeneralization of a happy, optimistic state across all situations. It results in denial and invalidation of the authentic human experience and disallows the existence of certain emotions that are part of human nature. You might think that looking at the bright side is a good thing to do, but did it ever come to you that the reason why you are looking at it is because you are on the dark side? Let’s point out some of the popular lines we usually say that are actually toxic:
“Stop being so negative!”
Seemingly harmless, but you are actually shaming that person for expressing anything other than positivity.
“I shouldn’t be feeling this way.”
Why would you even feel guilty about feeling what you feel?
“I’m not gonna think about it.”
Sure, as if not thinking about a certain situation that bothers you is the best way out.
Although they say that thinking about the positive stuff will attract good things (a.k.a. law of attraction), I hate to break it to you but there is a huge possibility that you are doing it the wrong way. The law of attraction works by attracting positive thoughts that has actual intentions, not positive thoughts that are used to deny the reality or suppress unpleasant emotions.
So, what should I do?
There are actually three ways to let yourself out of that dark side and actually be on the bright side.
First, accept that life is not always at its best.
It will make you more aware of the things in your life that are irrelevant, giving you the ability to prioritize.
Second, appreciate the things that you currently have.
Aside from giving you a sense of satisfaction and relief, it lets you focus on what sustains and nurtures your life and what can you do to make them better.
Lastly, aim for something that will give your life the life it needs.
Not only it can give you something to do that will make you feel alive, but it will also give you a sense of purpose.
In reality, problems are constant. It is part of our lives. We create a new problem after solving a new one. A gym membership may solve your weight problems and will give you happiness, but this will give you another set of problems like finding the time to visit the gym, the expensive membership fee, etc. Happiness is not achieved by having no problems at all; it is obtained by solving them. Problems come with stress, sadness or grief but they are all part of our nature as humans. We are meant to feel that way in certain situations that is why you should ever invalidate yourself or others for experiencing them. This contradicts all the ‘positive’ statements I have mentioned before, because it kind of tells you to be positive all the time. Faking your way could lead to a dozen of consequences. I am not telling you to settle on the bad things but consider that having the ability to accept them could be motivational too.
Life demands to be experienced. The negative part of it is our life’s way of telling us that there is something wrong and there is something that you should change, adjust or work on. Because of this, it is important that you allow yourself to think and feel about the negative things to be able to come up with a solution. After all, living is not just about experiencing the good stuff life has to offer; it is also about facing the bad stuff it wants you to conquer.