So I am working on a new writing project which involves giving my viewpoint on a number of personal development/wellbeing questions… and this is a question that I feel I have wanted to answer for some time.
As you can imagine, being engaged, and interested in this field, I hugely support the concept of ‘thinking more positively’ , especially given my personal story shows how the opposite end of the spectrum is fucking crushing on your mental health.
However, I also understand and completely appreciate that at times it can be hard to just simply switch a button to do so.
I use the hypothetical example in my first book, that if I had just lost my job and my partner left me on the same day and someone told me to ‘just think positively’ I would probably just lose my shit!
I say in all of my content that I am not wrapped up in this “protective positive bubble wrap” meaning that because I love these concepts around personal development and wellbeing that every single day is unicorn and rainbows, as this is far from the truth. It is unsustainable.
You have to be given the space to process such negative emotions and trying to mask such emotions I believe would build up.
I seen this once compared to an inflatable beach ball in a pool. When we push the ball under the pool it can only sustain so much pressure until it eventually builds up and explodes to the surface. The same would be with your emotions. There is only such much ‘good vibes only’ before you want to end up wanting to kill someone.
There has been a term coined of “Toxic positivity” which I seen defined as:
“The excessive and ineffective overgeneralization of a happy, optimistic state across all situations. The process of toxic positivity results in the denial, minimization, and invalidation of the authentic human emotional experience.”
Which makes sense.
It is also important to realize that negative emotions can serve us. Being angry and pissed off at the way you feel can jumpstart you into wanting to make positive changes, for the reason that you are sick of feeling like shit. Sugar coating some situations with positive thinking may not always work, sometimes you need to face the hard truths.
Even with that said, I still love this basic term by Zig Ziglar which reads “Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will” and there is no denying this… whatever the situation.
Say you had just lost your job and your girlfriend just left you, yes, you absolutely need time to process this. However, once processed, if you continue to dwell in this situation you may become ‘stuck’ so approaching it with a more positive outlook is going to serve you. You could start looking at new career opportunities which may lead to you discovering something you actually care about, (I have been experienced this) or you could end up meeting the new woman of your dreams on tinder or plenty of fish.
However, in answering the question, in my opinion, it is not emotionally sustainable to always think positively, thinking negatively definitely has its benefits, but thinking positively definitely serves its purpose to. It is just about being able to manage it correctly.