Is Positivity The New Negativity

POSITIVITY AS A WEAPON

I am completely guilty of this and it really only came to my attention this week but… when did we start using positivity as a weapon? I drank the positivity kool aid, I listened to the self help books, I believed that negativity was making me unhappy and that I could choose my attitude in any given situation. I still do to a degree.. but with this new happiness trend came the inevitable cull of everyone and everything that stood in the way of your own.

“Is your best friend always complaining? find a new best friend!”

Memes telling us that we don’t need negative people in our lives, that we should ‘choose happy’ and always be positive are literally everywhere, I would be shocked if you told me you hadn’t seen at least one in your feed today. Of course we want to be happy but what should have been about you and you alone has become more of a call to action. We only want happy, shiny, sparkly in our feeds and so anyone on a but of a downer is going to have to go. Is your best friend always complaining? find a new best friend! Is someone talking shit about someone else? Well you would never do that, you don’t need that vibe.

Last year I was on a major positivity kick, I am what some may call ’emotionally unstable’ or ‘unable to handle real life’ .. I’m basically on the brink of tears at all times. That’s not to say I’m sad, I cry when I’m happy too but it doesn’t take much to set me off. Not like big, loud, Kim K crying, more silent sobbing in the cinema. You get me. So when this ‘choose happy’ movement came along I was all for it, I don’t deal well with stress and choosing not to feel upset when you hit a bump in the road (metaphorical, not like.. a person) seemed like the perfect solution. The only problem was that when I did allow myself to be upset I was really upset. Sometimes the thing that pushed me over the edge would be so insignificant that I just seemed irrational.. this is a real trigger word for us overly-emotional types.

“I am what some may call ’emotionally unstable’ or ‘unable to handle real life'”

My husband is very much the debbie downer in our relationship. He is what he would call ‘a realist’ and I would call ‘a pesimist’ and in the wake of my new found positive outlook his natural negativity was really taking its toll. It caused arguments because I am told on a daily basis to surround myself with positive people in order to live a positive life and he wasn’t falling in to line. On the flip side, my constant need to find the positive in everything was driving him nuts, he needs to vent and complain and I wasn’t having any of it. We had reached an impasse and it felt like a hurdle we couldn’t cross together.

A hurdle caused by social media.

HAPPY SUNSET KIDS

We choose to have a variety of people in our lives because they all give you something different. I have very optimistic, lovely friends who would not tell me I looked fat in that dress and then I have honest friends who would.. I need both of them. On twitter I follow hilarious, sarcastic bloggers who are forever mocking people with happy, shiny lives and then I follow people who only lift others up and support them, I need both!

We’re so quick to judge people for being negative, epecially on social media. We are so torn between wanting ‘honesty and real life’ and ‘positive vibes only’ that we’re warring with ourselves internally as much as we are with each other. How many arguments have been caused by someone calling someone else out for being negative? How many subtweets have you seen to that effect? That’s not positivity! Something that should have made people happier is actually making us feel inadequate and stressed out and we’re placing the blame with every person we encounter that is knocking our happy bubble off its axis.

“Something that should have made people happier is actually making us feel inadequate”

I do believe that you can find the happy in most situations and I consciously try to stop myself from stressing out about things that are out of my control but we all have bad days. Some people can’t live in the positive, they’re not bad people that’s just who they are. I know I’m borderline depressive and can’t listen to too much negativity in one sitting but I don’t want to cut people out of my life (or my twitter feed) just because they can any more than they should cut me out because I might cry at any moment. Rather than using it to divide us maybe we should take back postivity and making it.. positive again? Wouldn’t that be nice?

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10 Comments

  1. Amy
    5 July, 2017 / 12:35 pm

    This is totally right “). Infact i wouldn’t be surprised if trying to stay positive gave people brake downs. I admire that some people can be positive with most things, but its not me. I think balance is important it’s ok to have a bad time and if it happens it’s ok to talk about it with people, last thing we need is to all be super happy positive people on the outside who are miserable on the inside and afraid of talking about incase they get mass blocked

  2. 5 July, 2017 / 12:42 pm

    This makes so much sense! I keep seeing this happening all the time at the moment, and I think the idea of ‘toxic’ people (which seems to pop up everyday) has been extended to mean people who can be negative. You shouldn’t ditch a friend just because they’re ‘hard to deal with’ when going through a tough time

    Steph – http://www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

  3. 5 July, 2017 / 12:56 pm

    Loved this. Twitter and Facebook have both become an echo chamber for faux positivity. It first manifested when people starting using being upset or outraged at something as an argument against it – “I like Apples” “OMG, I’m so offended you’d say you like Apples; I win!”. When that stopped working, it became a need to purge all negativity, and by negativity, that means anyone who has a differing opinion. I fully understand the need to remove people who are being racist, sexist or any other -ist; in 2017 it’s not acceptable. But, ‘positivity’ has become synonymous with militant ‘conformity’ and that’s very, very dangerous.

    Loved the post and glad you’re back with us on the dark side! x

  4. Claire
    5 July, 2017 / 1:17 pm

    Fantastic post. I always enjoy your writing and am so glad you decided to keep on blogging x

  5. Denise
    5 July, 2017 / 2:42 pm

    Totally on board with this, it’s completely true. But I would never have guessed you were ’emotionally unstable’ from your videos or blogs, I would have said you were a very level headed, calm person. It’s so interesting to read about this side of the movement.

  6. Mimi
    5 July, 2017 / 5:28 pm

    That picture of Milo is completely hilarious, I can’t stop laughing at it. I’m sure he was being difficult at the time but hopefully getting a hilarious photo out of it was worth it?! Genius.

  7. 6 July, 2017 / 11:49 am

    Remember when everyone was tweeting quotes from The Notebook? Arghhhhhhhh! Basically, life is a bit shit sometimes and you don’t have to find the happy, you have to find a way to cope and those two things are very different.

  8. 7 July, 2017 / 6:56 am

    Maybe rather than positivity we should be kind instead. Then wouldn’t we have the best of both xx

  9. Jodie Wright
    7 July, 2017 / 10:03 pm

    Choosing to be happy is fine but sometimes complaining makes you feel better. If you have to force being positive then it’s not real. To be honest, if you only focus on the positive you’ll miss a lot of reality. And those “everything happens for a reason” people drive me to the brink of violence.

  10. 10 July, 2017 / 9:55 pm

    What a beautifully written piece – really enjoyed reading it and completely agree

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