If there’s one thing that most people would agree on is the importance of being positive in life. Think positive they say, be optimistic! Sure, being positive is not a bad thing and can be quite good for you, but what I have a problem with is this insistence that you need to force yourself to think positive all the time in order to be happy. Positive thinking/optimism does not equal happiness folks, happiness is a way more complex emotion then that. Being optimistic is good for you yes, but perpetual, forced optimism? That’s just mentally exhausting and really not the best way to get rid of anxiety.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you need to be pessimistic and grumpy all the time, but getting worried or sad or negative from time to time is normal and nothing to be ashamed of. Always being optimistic, other than annoying the crap out of us naturally pessimistic lot, can lead to more problems than it solves. It’s good to be optimistic, but sometimes, it’s good to accept things that you cannot change and move on or adopt a different strategy. Telling someone that they can achieve anything if they put their mind to it or if they ‘just think positive!’ is actually not very helpful. In the end, what we should strive for is moderation. Neither perpetual optimism nor perpetual pessimism is healthy. It’s the middle path which is the sanest option and the most practical. Sure, it’s lovely to believe that everything is rainbows and butterflies and everything will be just peachy, but it’s good to have a hint of pessimism in your life, if only to keep yourself grounded and sane. Hoping for the best is fine, but at the same time it’s important to prepare for the worst as well. You’ll be a much happier person that way, believe you me.
Putting all rational arguments aside though, tell me this: have you ever actually met anyone who is always positive? Someone who always sees the brighter side of life? Someone who is always Miss I-don’t-have-a-care-in-the-world?
Sure, such people aren’t exactly common in today’s gloom-and-doom culture but everyone has met at least one such person in their lifetime so I’m going to assume you have too. Notice something all these people have in common? I’ll give you a minute to think back to your last encounter with such an individual. Got the memory in your head? Ok, tell me what you remember best about that experience.
It was the vague desire to hit them over the head with a mallet Loony Toons style wasn’t it? It wasn’t? Then either you’re lying or I’m the only one who finds such people highly annoying. There is nothing that makes me want to punch someone more than perpetual, forced positivity. Seriously dude, if you don’t stop I’ll just be forced to assume you are an alien visitor and therefore need to be doused in chilli garlic sauce (that’s how you kill aliens, right?)