In this moment I can think of a very devastating and shocking situation that changed the entire course of my life: the death of my mother.
I remember the frustration, sadness and emptiness I felt when I heard the dreadful news. She had cancer in the 4th stage and it was expected, but when you are 18 years old you just cannot accept that. You feel like the world is unfair to just people.
When she passed away, I got a lot of messages from people sending thoughts and prayers, but very few just didn’t seem like they were in place. One particular message really got me pissed. It was “keep it positive, things will be better.” I was pissed almost instantly. There is no way someone thinks that I will be positive after what happened. Do they even realize what just happened?! I didn’t feel better. I felt worse. This is what I call toxic positivity.
Here are some examples of toxic positivity:
- Feeling bad, guilty, or shameful for how you feel.
- Putting on a “mask” to the world when you feel completely different inside.
- Ignoring, hiding, downplaying, or dismissing your emotions or real feelings.
- Pretending everything is okay when it’s not.
- Minimizing others’ emotions.
- Shaming people for having negative emotions.
- Invalidating someone’s experience by not acknowledging the real issue/pain/frustration.
I am a firm believer in positive psychology and all the perks and benefits from it, but sometimes being positive is not the answer. As a matter of fact, it can ruin and destroy your mood more than it already is.
I can credit positive psychology for taking me in this place that I am right now, or looking at the things a lot better than they were before they even happened.
However, positivity is not going to cure it all.
Optimism is not helpful when it makes people feel guilt, shame, or invalidated in a way.
Positivity is not positive when it invalidates, denies, or minimizes authentic human emotions.
Stoicism is not brave or courageous when it forces you to stuff down your real, true emotions and be inauthentic with what you really feel.
Perspective is not supportive when it marginalizes your experience.
This pandemic is making a huge changes to human experience over the world. We need to separate, limit and divide the connection between us. I really feel like the source of humanity is being taken away and I am not blaming anyone for this. We are doing this to protect ourselves.
Not to mention that millions of people were left without jobs, many families cannot feed their newborns. I cannot say “how” this situation occurred and who f*cked up the entire world, but things are not positive right now. Positivity will not find the cure or stop the worldwide pandemic. Here’s what’s going to stop it.
Your emotions are call to action
My perspective was changed in an instant! How would you handle your emotion if you knew that they are your calls to action?! If you are depressed, it means that you should take a course of action and feel better. If you are bored you’re probably lying in bed and watching Netflix for 5 hours, and you need to stand up and do something to feel better.
However, saying it so lightly cannot really make a change, right? Depressed people cannot find the motivation to stand up and do something. They get way too deep in the nothingness until their life simply makes no sense. So here’s an example that always helps me:
When I feel like I’m getting frustrated, obstructed or simply bored, I move! Yes, I simply move. I walk for 15 minutes, I do jumping jacks for 2 minutes or just run in place. This may seem like a strange thing to do, but I get out of those undesirable emotions immediately! Even if I don’t want to, I still do it, no matter how unmotivated I feel in that moment. I know that after only few minutes I’ll feel better.
Humans are creatures of movement. Just look at our history: hunters, gatherers, warriors, and soldiers. We have evolved to move and the rise of technology is slowly taking that away from us. Now, technology is inevitable, and people will be even more sedentary in the next few years, but no one can take our desire to move and exercise.
The reason why I am saying all of this is because taking action is the cure. Being positive is a great thing in most situations, don’t get me wrong. But being positive all the time is bullsh*t. As a matter of fact, I made a video about this topic:
Champs, be truly happy that we have this freedom right now. Thousands of years ago, every day was a struggle to survive. What we have now cannot be paid with a thousand castles long time ago. The comfort and freedom is way too much. Don’t take that for granted and don’t avoid moving your body – the only temple that you have.
Most of all, listen to your emotions and take action. Don’t be blindly positive because it can truly cause harm in the wrong state of mind.
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