Is It Possible To Be Positive And Insensitive?

Is It Possible To Be Positive And Insensitive

We've all read quotes like "be happy" or "stay positive" on social media cards, t-shirts, mugs, magazine covers and even book titles. They subtly carry the promise that if we are just positive enough we will be shielded from pain and difficulty. Other times they are masked as a quick fix or remedy against negativity. 

Don't get me wrong, I think it's wonderful to bring to light what we CAN do to affect positive change in our lives. My work as a Life Coach certified in Positive Psychology is largely focused on just that! 

Recently, however, someone posted on Facebook to just walk past negativity and "stay positive". I know the sentiment was good, but I have to admit, it hurt...me.  And it read with a twinge of self-righteousness. 

Positivity is not the absence of darkness. Happiness is a not a life void of disappointment or unhappiness

I spent YEARS stuck in negativity, which I know today was actually FEAR. In my life, it showed up as arms crossed, walls up, a grimace, coldness, short answers and even silence.  I was so afraid to let you in and I lived with a depth of loneliness I wouldn't wish upon anyone, ever.  

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From my experience, fear is not a great motivator for change. Fear does however illuminate where I need to heal, grow or connect. Love has been the great ignitor of transformation in my life. And especially love and kindness of others.

All the great teachers, whether it be Mother Terese, Dalai Lama, Moses, Buddha, Jesus or Krishna went where the suffering was. They didn't walk by and stay positive. 

Through my darkest times there were people who simply dismissed me as angry or difficult. Aren't we all much more complex than just that? 

The people that loved me, sat with me and helped me were the ones that brought light to my darkness and gave me a path for happiness. I am so grateful they didn't walk on by. 

I must admit I too am guilty of judging and making assumptions about others. In fact, I still do sometimes! Its so easy to do, isn't it?

Different from pleasure, the Greeks defined happiness as "the joy we feel striving for our potential". I believe we get closer to our potential when we connect to who we are and each other.

The next time you encounter negativity maybe offer a smile or a hello. You may not see the immediate change, but if enough of us reach out to each other in times of pain, we most certainly will reap what we sow. And that's a good thing!