Yesterday’s blog post touched on the need to maintain a continuously positive state, so much so that you leave both yourself and others feeling minimized and invalidated. By overgeneralizing an optimistic state, we miss the boat on genuine emotional experiences. In order to create balance to positivity, you can:
- Begin by slowing down the immediate response. People who tend to jump to the positivity wagon often do so too quickly. Take a few deep breaths and make more room for simply listening.
- Begin to recognize the value of all emotions. Joy, contentedness, warmth, feeling peaceful – all important emotions. So are sadness, grief, frustration, feeling dismissed, anger and hurt. Make space for them for yourself and for others.
- If you are about to say “It could be worse.” Stop. Placating language or trying to get others to see the immediate bright side may not be what they want to hear in that moment. People generally get there on their own – what they need to feel is understood.
- Gain understanding. If you are unaware of how this need for ‘uber-positivity’ developed in you, do some self-reflection. Does this behaviour remind you of anyone in your life? How were emotions handled in your family? What happened as a child when you were sad? Angry? Upset? Who did you go to and what was their response? What effect do you think this has created? (Therapy can help with this process!)
- Apologize. To yourself, for spending years feeling guilty for the experience of negative emotions and to your loved ones who may have ended up feeling unsupported. Because, at the end of the day, when we know better, we do better.
Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@shauryasagar