If the global pandemic has taught us anything, as we continue to cope with it changing our normal lives forever, it’s that being negative is the new positive. Not only am I referring to staying safe and clear from the COVID-19 virus infection, but how we have been struggling with stress and anxiety in the new normal that causes us to feel miserable and sad. Losing your long-held job or only source of income, the sudden death of a loved one, or simply being left with no choice but to face your personal issues on your own. These have become more common, and regardless of social status, whether rich or poor, we all have had our bouts with unpleasant experiences or unhappy episodes that somehow kept us feeling down.
We’d be quick to say “You’ll get over it, just be positive!” something that I’m actually guilty of doing. But this is the toxic positivity that might do more harm than help. Of course, there are benefits to being an optimist and maintaining a positive mindset. However, toxic positivity wants us to ignore or reject difficult emotions in the pretense of a happy and joyful life.
We all want to feel great. We all want to experience the best of what life has to offer. We only want good vibes. if only this is the case all the time but life is tricky and we’ll come face-to-face with misadventures of difficult emotions and painful experiences, whether we want them or not.
And this is why there’s no denying these negative emotions. It won’t help either to dwell on them. Just like the feelings of happiness and exhilaration which we welcome with open arms, we need to embrace our negative tendencies. This means to be truly positive, we need to give ourselves the freedom to be negative.
Just as we jump for joyful encounters, we need to cry in sadness, cower in fear, scream our heart out in madness, show disgust in situations we dislike. We do this not because we’re weak, but because we’re humans. There’s no guilt in accepting our vulnerabilities. It’s OK to be worried about the uncertainties of the new normal but it’s also OK to be hopeful that things will only get better.
Reminds me of this happy/sad song by Michael Jackson on Spotify. With the lyrics “Let sadness see what happy does, let happy be where sadness was…”
Feel your feelings – express your hate, anger, jealousy, and sadness – instead of avoiding them, as they are real, valid, and important. They can help you go through life situations and focus on things that you need to work on to change. Give yourself time and space without necessarily acting on every emotion that you feel.
You need to acknowledge your emotions, both negative and positive, which can be as complex as the situation that causes them, to allow yourself to experience them completely, pick up the lessons, and make peace with yourself.
So when life gets tantrums and you’re dealt with tough situations, remember that it’s OK to be negative and express what you actually feel. While you might find you’d rather face your struggles on your own, don’t be afraid to reach out and talk to a friend. Yes, it’s OK to recognize your negative thoughts and emotions so you can move past them and be truly optimistic and embrace life’s beautiful misadventures.
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