The Pressure to Stay Positive Is Real
Updated: Jul 24, 2020
The pressure to stay positive is real. It has taken a toll on my health, both emotionally and mentally.
Usually, a carefree and a 'never-say-no until you have tried' person, I was losing my sanity now. These past few months have been tough. Tough on all, I guess.
Starting with COVID pandemic to lockdown and having spouses and kids at home 24*7, it had been months of a rollercoaster ride. There is still no house help for most of us to take care of the chores. And yet you are lectured to 'stay positive'. Seriously!
Why Staying Positive All the Time Can Pose a Danger to Our Mental and Emotional Well-being?
Can you pass through life with only one type of expression on your face and one set of emotional states? No, it isn't possible. We feel joy, we feel stress. We go crazy with excitement at times and mad with anger at other times. That is how we learn and evolve into a stronger and wiser being.
There have been times I have wanted to cry. There have been times I wanted to shout at the top of my voice and say 'this is not how I imagined my life to be'. There have been times I have felt, guilty, cheated, frustrated, and a failure.
And then there have also been times I have been able to pull myself out of these pitfalls along the way. No, not because I tried to stay positive. But because I felt my pain, my agony, and let it settle and pass by.
Don't force yourself to not feel whatever negative emotions you are going through. Rather make an outlet possible for those feelings by talking to a close confidante. It could be your sister, your brother, your best friend, a colleague, or your parents.
I mean, it is okay to feel sorry for yourself sometimes. That is what makes us human.
But there are a lot of people out there spreading extra-large positivity hampers. And that is what makes them unreal to exist. They show as if no negative emotions can make them lose control. That they have a grip on their life situations. And that the tough times don't have the power to uproot them.
Believe me, an overdose of positivity alone kills many people alive than any other form of illness.
What Happens When You Don't Feel Your Negative Emotions?
A human mind is complex. And to live a happy fulfilled life we have to find simpler ways. Ways that will help us mess ourselves as little as possible.
And staying only positive all the time will not do the needful.
Have you ever wondered what would happen if you stop feeling sad or other such emotions? Well, if you happen to be a fool like me you would have already tried this on the advice of some 'always stay positive' freak.
So what happens when you start monitoring your thoughts and deliberately try to turn negative emotions into positive ones?
You feel a constant pressure… the pressure that makes you feel miserable about yourself.
You turn into a churning machine that inputs both positive and negative thoughts but outputs only positive ones. You go through this process without feeling anything. And if you don't feel anything, you are as close to being a bot.
You don't have anyone with whom you can share your true emotional and mental state. Because you have posed yourself as a human overflowing with positivity. And now, you think it would be shameful and undignified to admit that you were wrong.
Your feelings pent up and without a vent, in some cases (not all), can lead to a depressing mental state.
To live a balanced life experiencing both positive and negative emotions is essential. The real trick to getting affected by either and not get carried away is to 'stay grounded'.
Myths About Staying Positive And Why it is Not Healthy to Ignore Your Negative Emotions
Social media and WhatsApp have a lot of 'stay positive, stay happy' messages doing rounds.
Sure staying positive help. But not feeling your negative emotions leaves you tired, restless, and drained. Also, it isn't easy to stay positive and cheerful all the time. There are times when you have to let the sadness and the pain settle before you see the ray of light again. And you don't necessarily have to do it alone.
I reckon, the all-time-smile face is fake and seems fancy and made-up, and burdened.
So, it is necessary to put an end to all the 'stay positive' nonsense that's fed to you every time you are going through a rough patch in your life.
Know how important it is to feel your feelings... good, bad, happy, sad, loneliness, cry, helplessness, laziness, tiredness, or sometimes not feeling nothing at all.
There are myths around staying positive in troubled times. Myths if not busted today will lead to many more disturbing minds creating pressure to stay positive.
Myth 1: Staying positive will help you heal faster.
Reality: If you push yourself to see only the good and positive in everything around you, you are lying to yourself. Staying positive will only help in situations where you have known your pain, lived through it, and have found your way out.
Myth 2: Be Positive. Things will work themselves out.
Reality: Things don't work out themselves. One has to get up and make efforts. Staying positive all the time is not possible. You will have your share of ups and downs.
Consider the situation, you have been in a road accident. And now you are sitting at home with an injured leg. You are the only bread earner in the family, and now you are out of work. But still, you manage to stay positive because you have been fed so.
Is your positivity serving food on the table? Is your positivity helping you fight your frustration? No.
Sometimes, bad times are good for us. They help us look at our strengths. We eventually learn to deal with our negative emotions too.
Myth 3: Staying positive will make you happy.
Reality: Staying positive has nothing to do with staying happy. Your happiness is measured by your state of being. And positivity is sometimes a forced measure to ensure the absence of negative emotions.
Don't be misled. For your sanity, question the pros and cons of staying positive unnecessarily.
Myth 4: A positive attitude helps you sail easily through tough times.
Reality: When the harshness of life hits you and gets you down on your knees, it is difficult to stay positive.
It would also be foolish to think that not feeling the pain by negating it you will pass the test of time. Remember, ignorance is bliss until it doesn't kill.
Imagine staying positive in a situation like such: You have been diagnosed with a brain tumor. You have less time than you expected to live. Will you live your remaining life thinking 'I am positive so nothing bad can happen to me'. Or you will try and live the number of days you have left to the fullest, feeling varied emotions you will go through the journey.
I don't say, don't be positive. But staying positive all the time is not possible. Staying positive always can be dangerous, and it does more harm than it does good.
It is normal to go through an emotional outburst, as long as you know when to stop and not get caught in the endless circle of your thoughts.