Why Positive Thinking May Not Have Positive Outcomes

When life hands you a lemon, make lemonade. Be great. Think positively.

Isn’t that something we constantly read in motivational posts and hear in inspiring videos. Thousands of gurus all over the Internet motivate us to have positive thoughts and an extraordinary life. They tell stories about people that have gone through some terrible situations in their lives and now are able to live happily. ‘’Why are you whining?’’ they ask. ‘’There are hundreds, thousands, maybe millions of people who have much worse situations than yours.’’

Perhaps, that’s the reason you want to bury your feelings and be positive. You’ve been persuaded that feeling sad, weak, or low-spirited should be easily transformed into positive feelings. 

‘’Yes, sure. Nothing happened. I’m fine. I’m staying positive.’’

It doesn’t work like that. 

Why feeling low is totally fine?

Our brain was created to help us survive. Thinking negatively and considering the worst-case scenario is biological to us — this is our survival mechanism.

Expecting a positive vibe from yourself every day is like having a party day in day out. Can you imagine this? I’m pretty sure you can’t. Why? Because we are humans. It’s unnatural for us to be happy and joyful all the time, as we have problems to solve and difficulties to experience. 

Sometimes I hear people saying that life is too short to be sad and I completely disagree with that. Life is too short to ignore your feelings. 

It’s important to realize that there are no ‘bad’ or ‘good’ feelings —  there is a place for every emotion. It’s okay to be sad when you break up with a partner. It’s fine to be disappointed when your business idea fails. It’s normal to be angry when your friend lets you down. What’s not okay is to hide your feelings as it will only exacerbate them in the long run. 

Not only is a life long enough to feel various emotions, but these emotions will help you go to the next level. Unless you face your real feelings, your pain, despair, grief, anger, or disappointment won’t go away. 

Myths about being negative or positive

Let’s bust a few myths around negativity positivity:

  1. It’s not negative to ask yourself direct questions or seek answers.
  2. It is not negative to be not okay with a certain situation and seek out ways to upgrade it.
  3. Being negative or skeptical is not bad if it serves the purpose of creating positive growth.
  4. Being positive is not automatically good, especially if it’s used to betray real emotions.
  5. Being overly positive is no better than being super negative. These are two polarities of an unhealthy way to look at life situations. 

What a healthy mindset is?

A healthy mindset is neither positive nor negative. It gives room for negative feelings while not allowing them to get a complete hold of us. 

An authentically healthy mindset does not attempt any denial of painful feelings. Instead, it  accepts negative emotions but doesn’t allow us to be endlessly obsessed with them. 

With an encouraging and supportive hand of a healthy mindset, you’re able to rise above the troubling situation, reframe it, see other sides to it and tackle it with greater energy.

Final word

We all experience ups and downs. We all go through difficult moments and periods. None of us lives under the constant rays of happiness. Pain, fear, anger, sadness, grief, resentment, guilt, shame – they are all living emotions, not negative ones. They have their place and function in our lives. Suppressing or ignoring these emotions only makes it hurt much more.

The goal isn’t to be positive but to be real. It takes maturity to be able to face intense, ugly, painful, or unpleasant emotions and accept them.

Being positive all the time is not necessary for a happy, fulfilled life. Being real is.

Author: Anna Grechko is a marketing enthusiast and knows the field inside out. She is the marketing specialist at Smart IT. Sharing knowledge is a big part of her career, so Anna actively seeks to spread good vibes, and collaborate with the great tech and marketing minds of the world.

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