I keep seeing content on social media encouraging people to ditch positivity and “feel whatever you feel.” “It’s a matter of being authentic,” they say. This is advice that can quickly leave someone at dead end on their path.
As with most incomplete advice, there’s a grain of truth in it. Of course, you should never bottle up your feelings and try to put a happy smile on them. That’s not what true positivity is about anyway. However, not all feelings are created equal.
There definitely are feelings that support a healthy you and collectively a saner civilization. There are other feelings that may seem productive, even empowering in the short term that are ultimately corrosive and destructive to people and to cultures.
This idea that ‘I’m just an angry or sad or depressed person and that’s authentically who I am,’ is not a place to validate someone and leave them. Yes. We all feel those things sometimes. That’s human. However, those feelings, over the long-term, are not a place we should encourage anyone to remain out of homage to “you have a right to feel what you feel.”
Personal development, professional counseling, or other tools that help steer someone in more productive- dare I say it positive – directions become necessary when someone gets stuck in emotions that may be how they feel, but are not sustainable over time.
In short bursts, negative emotions can propel us forward. Long-term they’re toxic. Positive emotions should never be used to mask real pain, but they are superior mode of being to persistent negative feelings.
Getting back to a place where positive emotions can become the dominant emotions in a person’s life is a worthy aspiration and achievable one. If you’re going to encourage someone to “own those negative emotions,” please be sure to share the warning signs of when that’s no longer healthy and ways to find your way back to balance and well-being.
If you find yourself caught in a swirl of constant negativity, please be sure to seek help or start a journey of self-discovery that can open doors to a beer life for you.
Just in case no one else has reminded you today, you are amazing!