Why Positivity Doesn’t Mean Being Happy All the Time

A common misconception I often see people have about positivity is that it’s blind optimism. That to be positive, you must disregard negativity, see the best in everything, and pay no attention to issues that come your way. Not only is this assumption incorrect, but I’d also argue that it perpetuates a toxic concept of positivity — a concept that is neither healthy nor attainable.

The biggest issue with this perception of positivity is that it is impossible to exist in a world without negativity. Whether or not they directly affect you, negative things happen every day. Having a positive outlook doesn’t give you the freedom to ignore that and choosing to do so won’t eliminate any of those problems. In fact, it will probably put you in a worse position. Hiding yourself from your issues will make it more difficult for you to solve them. A positive attitude that negates all bad isn’t going to fix anything.

When you imagine a positive person, you typically envision someone who’s nice to everyone and constantly smiling. But what this mental image fails to do is show you a real person, an individual with many different, complicated emotions. Because the truth is, no matter how hard someone tries to be joyful and positive all the time, there are moments when they simply aren’t.

Being positive doesn’t mean being happy 100% of the time or ignoring problems because they don’t align with that type of mindset. Even if you maintain a positive attitude most of the time, it’s still important for you to acknowledge and process negative feelings. Life is a multitude of emotions — some good and some bad. And the bad ones won’t miraculously disappear because you want them to. If you don’t allow yourself to experience them, they will stay bottled up inside you forever.

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As someone who generally considers themselves to be a positive person, I can say I am not happy every single moment. There are times when I feel sad or frustrated or unmotivated, and no amount of positive thoughts or inspirational messages can get me out of that funk. It isn’t about changing my attitude or looking on the bright side of things either. These feelings are just as important and just as valid as the happy ones, and they need to be experienced even if they don’t necessarily make you feel good. 

Looking at things through rose-colored glasses isn’t about only focusing on the positive; it’s about accepting the negative and remaining positive in spite of it. We can’t expect ourselves to be happy all the time, but we can embrace life’s downs, knowing that eventually they will go back up again. 

So, I’ll end with this: If you want to be a positive thinker, be one. Having negative or cynical thoughts every so often won’t make you any less of a positive person, but because positivity doesn’t come to us in endless supply. Sometimes, we have to fight for it. And other times, we just have to be OK with the knowledge that it isn’t attainable right now.

Are you a positive thinker? 

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Hi, I'm Paige and my favorite things are lipstick, books, and coffee.

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