why you shouldn’t force positivity

This has been a topic that I have struggled with and I’m sure many have. I recently watched a video by famous Youtuber, Pewdiepie. His video was on forced positivity (find the link below), and it inspired me to bring my own perspective to this idea. In our culture today you have so many quick tricks and motivational speakers telling you how to get “happier” in 6 quick easy steps. There are “motivational” quotes all over the internet that encourage constant happiness. Our social media culture represents only the good things that happen in our loved one’s lives and we are influenced to believe that being constantly happy is the true meaning of success in life. Now, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with happiness. Happiness is a beautiful thing and it has created some of my most memorable moments in my life. However, when happiness is forced because we are led to believe it is the only right way, that is when it becomes a problem.

Pewdiepie also mentioned this article, which is a great read (link below); a Harvard psychologist took a gander at forced positivity and how it can actually hurt you more to pretend you are happy. Here is one of the quotes from the article, “A lot of our cultural dialogue is fundamentally avoidant, so people will just say things like, ‘just be positive and things will be fine.’ ‘The tyranny of positivity’ was what a friend of mine called it.” There have been many times in my life where I forced a smile to come off as “normal” or “successful.” I saw these happy successful people and I thought, in order for me to be like that, I have to constantly be happy and enjoy everything in life. But in turn, I just became more upset because if I wasn’t happy enough, I thought I wouldn’t be successful enough. You’ve probably already seen this from plenty of movies and interviews but success brings on a lot of trouble in life. Being successful is hard, it takes work, and sometimes that work hurts. As humans, we cannot constantly be overwhelmed with joy. We can enjoy things in life and not have to feel an overwhelming boost of positivity. Life is not like it is in the movies and this is okay. We will feel sad, we will feel happy, and we will feel… just okay. Most of the time we’re in the middle. We’re not happy and we’re not sad, we’re fine. Being fine doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy things or have fun. It doesn’t mean we can’t be successful either.

Another quote from the article says, “emotions like sadness, guilt, grief and anger are beacons for our values. We don’t get angry about stuff we don’t care about. We don’t feel sad or guilty about stuff we don’t care about. If we push these emotions away, we are choosing not to learn about ourselves. We are choosing to ignore our values and what is important to us.” By pushing those other emotions away, we only grow to be more upset than we were before. We must embrace how we feel, understand why we feel this way, and then move on to be just okay. I highly suggest watching the video in the description and reading the article as well.

 

And today… I hope you can say that you are fine.

 

Video Link: https://youtu.be/iyGI1uHyyws

Article Link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2016/09/23/forcing-positive-thinking-wont-make-you-happy-says-this-harvard-psychologist/?utm_term=.00f033b25826

 

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