The Harmful Side of Positivisms

October 13th, 2015

Many of my friends on social media are in the habit of posting what I like to call “positivisms” – little quotes that talk about positive thinking or how to be positive, etc. Some of these I just pass by, others have always sort-of annoyed me, but today I saw one that actually made me stop cold because it made me angry (note: I’ve seen this same quote/sentiment in several forms posted by several different people – I’m not angry at the person that posted it, I’m angry at the quote):

Positive people also have negative thoughts. They just don’t let those thoughts¬†control them.

I’ll be bluntly honest here about my first response to this quote: fuck you.

Okay, okay, that may be a bit harsh, but let me explain. It’s bad enough that some days, I can’t help it if the negative thoughts control me, now you’re telling me that I’m less than because of that? (Because let’s be honest, when we’re posting about positive people, we’re doing it because we’re saying they’re something to emulate, right?). So the fact that I managed to make it to “normal” today despite my negative thoughts isn’t enough – I have to be positive on top of that?

Do I dislike positive people? Not at all – I think they’re part of what makes the world go round – and a necessary part at that. But – as my good friend Lisa pointed out – I also don’t think being positive is the only way to be good or normal (whatever that is). I think being neutral or even negative can be a good thing, too – and we need a little bit of all of it to make us a complete person.

So do negative thoughts control me sometimes? Hell yes, they do. No matter how hard I fight against them. And I don’t believe that I am “less than” because of that. In fact, I think that tomorrow, when the negative thoughts aren’t controlling me, I’ll be a stronger person for having fought through them before. And you may not see all of this battling that is going on inside of me, but that’s okay.

All this being said, I get it. I get why people post these and why others respond to them and generally why they’re so popular. I’m not saying stop posting them. I’m just letting folks know that it can be frustrating to others to read them for reasons that are deeper than you may imagine.¬†I’ve quoted him before, and I’ll quote him again, a lot of this just goes back to Plato’s statement, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” And maybe those positivisms help you fight your battle – more power to you if they do. Today they just made it a little more difficult to fight mine.