The Warning Label on Positivity

For several years, my regular practice every morning in my car on my commute to work was to listen to something positive, like an inspirational podcast or a motivational audiobook. Then, on my way home from work, I would call my mom; she’s my grounding force, and it was such a great way to bookend my workday. Kick it off with this positive energy, positive momentum, and then make sure that I got all of my frustrations out before I transitioned into my house. But I learned that you should not be 100% positive, 100% of the time.

There are some major cautions – like I am throwing up the caution tape at you, warning signs are flashing – that you should not be walking around, trying to be positive all of the time.

For those who are really close to me in my life, they know I’m positive; I’m optimistic the majority of the time, but there are absolutely some pitfalls if you’re trying to do it all of the time. First off, when you have a really big decision to make, too much positivity can actually cloud your judgment. It’s one thing to be looking through rose-colored lenses – but if those lenses are too rosy, they almost become red, blocked, where you can’t even see out of them.

So make sure that when you are making big decisions, that yes, you have optimism about it, you’re seeing opportunity – but you might be playing devil’s advocate, you might make sure you’re looking at things from alternate points of views and weighing some of the potential cons, roadblocks, or challenges ahead.

Then, especially during this time, I caution you against trying to be positive all of the time; you absolutely are going to be having feelings of anger, frustration, or anxiety.

If you are trying to push those down and stuff positivity on top of it all of the time, eventually it’s going to erupt and cause a massive explosion. Instead of trying to push all of it down all of the time and cover it up with positivity, give yourself some sort of release valve. I live in Southern California, and I don’t like earthquakes, but I’m so happy when we have those little ones – because we know that it’s helping relieve some tension, instead of building up into the big one.

It’s the same thing with our emotions, so find a healthy way for you to have that release valve. Instead of saying, “I’m going to be positive 100% of the time and pretend that these emotions don’t exist,” channel that into something. That could be something like journaling, or it could be like me calling my mom. But make sure that you aren’t trying to walk through life, saying, “I need to be positive all of the time.” Absolutely not. I want you to be optimistic, I want you to see opportunities, but find healthy ways to deal with any of the negativity in your life that we all experience.

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