Why it’s not healthy to be positive all the time
Have you ever felt like you had to wear a smile 24/7?
For any number of reasons, we often feel compelled to keep up the illusion that ‘everything’s fine’.
Maybe it’s because we don’t want to worry our friends and family. Maybe we don’t want to be seen as a failure by others. Maybe we don’t want to expose our vulnerabilities because we don’t want to appear weak (I’m sure this must be something ingrained in us from humankind’s early days, when appearing weak could very well mean the difference between life and death).
I know one of the struggles I’ve personally had ever since beginning this blog back in 2013 was the idea that I always had to put on a happy, positive front.
After all, my blog is all about going after your dreams, living a more fulfilling life, and thinking in a more positive and empowering way.
So long as I was talking about these things, there certainly wasn’t any room for me to confess to challenging days or struggles with depression or feelings of being dissatisfied with life as scheduled….right?
Mm…actually, maybe that wasn’t true.
Let me explain.
A few months ago, I burned my hand while cooking. (Yeah, the kitchen’s not my forte, alas). The pain was excruciating. I filled a bowl with ice and water and submerged my hand. It was sweet relief.
But there was one problem: every time I took my hand out of the bowl, the mind-splitting burning pain would return. Why wasn’t the pain going away already? It had been over an hour!
I read some tips on the internet, and that’s when I realized the truth: I wasn’t taking away the burning pain with the ice water, I was only numbing it! The only way the pain would go away was for me to keep my hand OUT of the water and simply GO THROUGH the painuntil my body had finally become used to it.
It was one of most painful 20 minutes of my life – I kid you not! But sure enough, the pain didn’t even register anymore!
What does this have to do with positivity?
I think sometimes, people submerge themselves into their bowl of positivity because they don’t want to deal with the pain of their circumstance. They believe that forcing a smile and suppressing their sadness/anger/hopelessness/etc. is what they need to do to move forward.
But all they’re really doing is numbing the pain! And more dangerous still, those suppressed emotions will only end up circling back later on, sometimes manifesting as serious health conditions.
If you truly want to move forward in an empowering way, then you have to move forward THROUGH your emotions, whatever they may be. And if that means taking a ‘mental health day’ to feel upset or discouraged or far from positive… then that’s what you need to do.
Because guess what: we’re human beings! We’re meant to experience a wide range of emotions. Your emotions do not define you, however. You’re not weak just because you feel sad one day. You’re not a fraud just because you’re a positive person but feel hopeless at some point. You’re not a failure just because you feel lost during a season of your life.
We all want to strive toward happier and more fulfilling lives, but depriving ourselves of feeling emotion isn’t going to get us there. Instead of labeling our emotions as good or bad, let’s just take them as they come and use them as a learning experience, as feedback for what needs to change in our lives.
So whatever it is you feel today – feel it fully and feel it truly. Then remember tomorrow’s a new day, and continue moving forward.