I never really thought of myself as a very negative person, but I was told I was my entire life. My mother, a self proclaimed optimist in spite of her ability to find the negative in any situation, has said this more times than I can count. My husband even made similar comments over the years about how negative I am.
As a result, I have tried to be more positive. I have been able to see more positive things than I used to in negative situations. This has been beneficial to a degree. It has helped me to be a bit happier than I used to be.
That being said though, God showed me something this morning about positive thinking that never crossed my mind before.
I was getting laundry out of the dryer & praying as I did. I had a dreadful night last night, barely getting any sleep & what sleep I had was full of nightmares. I’ve been in a nasty funk for a few days now which wasn’t helped by last night’s “sleep” & was telling God about that too. Complaining really. I wasn’t finding any positive in anything, & feeling guilty for that. I didn’t admit that to God but of course He knew anyway. And, He said something about that.
“Being too positive can invalidate your pain. It says you don’t have a right to be disappointed, hurt or angry because something good came from the situation. Being positive is good, but only in balance. It’s OK to say things just suck sometimes. This is one of those times. Feel the pain, & get it out. Then, & only then, the funk will lift.”
So many of us who have been abused have been told by other people we’re too negative if we discuss it. Some people think it’s a taboo topic not to be discussed. Sweep it under the rug, pretend that didn’t happen. Or, if something good came out of the awful situation (such as having kids with the abusive partner), then you shouldn’t be upset about it. Something good came from it, so you shouldn’t complain or have problems stemming from the abuse.
What these people fail to realize is by telling victims to “stop being so negative” or to “think positive”. they are being abusive. They are invalidating your pain, & invalidation is abuse. Invalidation says your pain doesn’t matter, & there is something wrong with you for feeling the way you do. Whether that is the intention or not by saying “think positive” & such statements, that is the result. The person who is told to think positive feels there is something wrong with them for feeling as they do.
Dear Readers, please remember this post when someone tells you to be positive. Being positive is a wonderful thing. It helps you to feel good. But, it also is unrealistic to think you can be positive 100% of the time. Sometimes things just suck! There is nothing wrong with admitting that. There is also nothing wrong with thinking about those things & feeling whatever emotions that the event triggered in you. Ignoring such things does no good. Those emotions will come to the surface at some point, & probably not in a good way. It is better to have a short period of being depressed or angry as you heal than years of emotions manifesting in unhealthy ways such as addictions, self harm or suicidal thoughts & actions.