9 more to go: On positivity.
I’ve noticed a trend lately in social media of talking a lot about positivity, positive energy, thinking positively and other similar platitudes around how our attitudes impact our lives and the world around us. I get very polarized around this sort of thing. On one hand, I think trying to be positive is a good thing for an individual and their overall mental/emotional well being. But I don’t necessarily buy wholesale the idea that such a thing has a huge impact outside of the individual. And I also am not a fan of the demonizing of any kind of “negative” thoughts or words and how it brings bad things to people. Because sometimes things are shitty and I think denying that is equivalent to trying to keep a cork in a bottle of champagne that’s been violently shaken. Eventually, shit is gonna explode.
I also feel like it’s a larger extension of people not wanting to hear other folks’s bad stuff because it makes them think of their bad stuff. And a lot of things are shitty right now! People are broke or jobless or struggling intensely even while employed. Health care is a mess, people have to throw fundraisers and start Chip-Ins to pay hospital bills and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Now I do believe that dwelling in negativity does no good either. But I am not so naive as to think that keeping my thoughts eternally positive is all it takes to turn things around. I have known wonderful, positive, good people who have still died from cancer or lost their job or were economically blindsided. And it’s okay to feel shitty about that! This culture of Oprah and The Secret and posting a fucking picture of a waterfall with quotes from some long dead eastern philosopher often feels so divorced from reality and designed to blame and shame people if they’re ever feeling shitty about their shitty life situation. When I would talk to my Dad on the phone and he would tell me he was scared of dying from cancer I didn’t tell him to just buck up and think positively and here’s a quote from so and so. I did my best to honor his fears and hold them and listen and do what I could with my words and my love to maybe soften those razor sharp edges just a bit.
Ultimately, people can think and do what they want to think and do. I’m just real burned out on this unbalanced, jejune clinging to the idea that a positive mindset cures all. And if that just makes me negative then so be it. But I think it makes me alive and realistic.