Positivity abounds! From digital life to real life, the name of the game for young professionals (YPs) seeking success and happiness these days is “just be positive!” Our newsfeeds are full of upbeat daily affirmations,and our go-to advice-givers lean on the power of attraction like it’s the be-all-and-end-all. But is it? While it’s obviously a positive thing to have a positive outlook (we can’t honestly knock hope and optimism) during this stage of YP life when we’re wise to take advantage of all available life lessons, there can also exist downfalls to simply ignoring the downtimes. So before quickly moving past that major mistake and brushing off that gloomy outlook, and before posting that uplifting meme to your many back-patting followers, check out our list of the notable negatives of being too positive:
1. It’s unrealistic, unsustainable
The well-documented powers of positive thinking (we’ve all heard of The Secret) have many YPs believing that if we simply stay positive and believe in our dreams, good things will come our way. This may be all well and good, except for one major missing step: dealing with our sh*t. Simply spewing off positivity doesn’t make it true and doesn’t make the negative somehow vaporize and disappear. It’s both unrealistic (read: fake and phoney) and unsustainable (read: ticking time bomb) to portray an outward positive attitude if our innards harbour negatives. We all have issues and they all need to be recognized eventually. So before retweeting that quote about moving onward and upward, take a moment to sit with the problem and indulge in the negative. Only once negatives are dealt with can we then start to build a genuinely positive attitude.
2. Loss of valuable support
In a past Notable article, Assuming Perfect: Insight Gained From a Life Cut Short, we discussed the common issue among YPs of portraying ourselves in an exclusively positive light via both social media and the social scene. Of course we all want the outside world to believe we are doing well for ourselves and living a positive life, but if it’s not completely true, why do we work so hard to maintain it? Living in a bubble of feigned positivity keeps us away from opportunities to find support in others. There are other YPs feeling how we feel and dealing with what we’re dealing with, so pop that positivity, let the negative air out, and take advantage of the supports that our social worlds can provide.
3. Loss of valuable lessons
As YPs, we benefit from being learners, permitted to make mistakes just as long as we learn and continue to grow. For those of the overly positive variety, however, many of life’s valuable lessons can be lost. It takes a certain relationship with negativity to learn from our mistakes. Being too positive can lead us to gloss over and ignore our blunders, making us more likely to repeat them. To move forward, rather than in circles, we must admit to screw-ups, reflect on errors, and spend some valuable time with those negative vibes.
4. Loss of valuable emotions
We hear so much about the powers of positivity. Rarely, though, do we hear of the incredible powers of negative thinking. Yes, that’s right, experiencing negative thoughts and feelings can be exceptionally empowering, inspiring, and best of all, mobilizing. Think of the last time something really pissed you off, a tiff with a friend or an injustice in the news. Those extreme negative emotions like anger and desperation are what motivate people to move, inspire people to create, and make change happen. Maintaining a purely positive attitude, an overall feeling that all will just be A-OK, can stifle and water down those important emotions. So go ahead, get mad and get moving.
5. It’s annoying
Finally, we can’t go without noting just how damn annoying some overly positive types can be. Life is not perfect and every day is not perfect. Hyper-positive Facebook posts are an insult to those dealing with real life, life that is messy and hard, challenging and ever-changing. Thankfully for us realistic YPs, we are able to see all that is tough alongside all that is amazing and can recognize the importance of both positivity and negativity. To be a truly balanced YP, talking about both, reading about both, and experiencing both is key.
#LYNL | (Live Your Notable Life)
Cover image: Shesaidbeauty.com