Being Too Positive Is As Unhealthy As Being Too Negative

Lately I’ve noticed something.  So many people are just over the top positive. They can find something good in every single situation, no matter what.  While that may sound good, I really don’t think it’s entirely good for a person’s mental health.

If you’re very positive, you expect nothing but good things to happen.  Since life isn’t always perfect, bad things do happen, & when they do, overly positive people can be devastated.  A realistic person hopes for the best, but  also prepares for the worst.  When something bad happens, they aren’t usually overwhelmed, because they knew it was possible something bad might happen.

Very positive people also can unintentionally invalidate others, which damages their relationships.  Look at these typical scenarios:

  • You’re recovering from a potentially life threatening illness.  The overly positive person says, “At least you’re still alive!”  Well, yes, but that comment makes you feel like you don’t have the right to be upset about the fact that you could have died, when in fact you most certainly have that right!
  • A soldier with PTSD saved his friends’ lives by killing an enemy soldier who was running at them, guns blazing.  A positive person might say something like, “You did a brave thing!  Look at the lives you saved!”  While that’s true, how about asking how he feels about the incident, or offering him comfort because he had to kill another human being & is having difficulties coming to terms with it?
  • You tell the overly positive person of trauma in your life such as your parents’ abusing you, being the victim of a mugging or maybe being in a terrible car wreck.  The overly positive person says, “Other people have been through much worse!”  Or, even worse, they don’t so much as acknowledge what you said.
  • You were adopted as a baby.  As an adult, you’re frustrated because you don’t know your family’s history, how many siblings you may or may not have, why you were given up for adoption or even what name your biological mother wanted to give you.  Or, maybe your adoptive parents abused you.  An overly positive person might tell you how lucky you were & how grateful you should be to be adopted, making you feel guilty for not feeling so lucky or grateful.

I’m not trying to say being positive is all bad.  It certainly has its place.  It can help you in tough times to focus on the good, such as remembering the good times with your loved one after he or she has passed away.  I do believe though that there must be balance.

Being too positive means a person doesn’t deal with their emotions in a healthy way.  They ignore the anger, hurt or sadness & put on a happy face.  That is never a healthy thing to do!  Emotions demand to be felt, so if they aren’t felt in a healthy way, they’ll find a way to manifest in an unhealthy way.  This can lead to physical health problems such as high blood pressure as well as angry outbursts or depression.

It also can lead to deep insecurity.  If a person feels bad about themselves for feeling a negative emotion, chances are, that person will shame themselves for what they feel.  Their self talk will be awful.  They’ll tell themselves things like, “You’re so stupid for being mad/sad about that!”  Negative self talk can damage self-esteem, which is never a good thing.

You can be positive yet realistic at the same time, Dear Reader.  If something bad happened, there is nothing wrong with admitting that event was bad.  As I’ve mentioned before, in 2015, I nearly died from carbon monoxide poisoning.  Good has come from it- my personality changes have worked well for me.  I’m happy to say I no longer have patience for abusive people, I’m better with self care than ever before & I finally will stand up for myself.  But, at the same time, I don’t like the fact I get tired so easily, I have constant head, neck & body pain, sometimes my moods swing like crazy, & my memory & comprehension are seriously damaged.  See what I mean?  I have found the positive, but at the same time, I admit the negative.  You can do this too, & I firmly believe when you do, you will be much happier than if you are overly positive.


Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health

17 responses to “Being Too Positive Is As Unhealthy As Being Too Negative

  1. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is the shortest verse:
    “Jesus wept.”

    It reminds me that sometimes tears are exactly the right response.

    Liked by 4 people

    • So very true! When you’re going through a crisis, a friend who cries with you means so much more than someone saying “Cheer up!” “Others have it way worse!” or things like that.

      Liked by 2 people

      • A therapist actually cried when I told her about my mom trying to gas us all to death when I was twelve years old. She said “I have a son who is twelve, and just imagining you going through that at such a young age, breaks my heart.” I really needed that, but did not know I did until it happened.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Wow… that is wonderful she gave you that gift. It reminded me a bit of my best friend. Her father died about a year before mine. He too was an abusive narcissist. They barely spoke by the time he was diagnosed with his fatal illness. As soon as the diagnosis came, her whole family jumped on her to drive the 6 hour trip to his side. She knew in her heart the timing wasn’t right. When she did go though, it turned out to be such a blessing. He was medicated, including psychiatric meds, which he’d always needed but refused to take. They had a very good conversation. Her father also told her how sorry he was for not being a good father. After she left his side, he slipped into a coma & died shortly after. She told me she never expected him to admit things let alone apologize for them, & was fine not having that. But, getting them gave her such validation & peace. It was truly an unexpected gift for her. For him as well.. it seemed he’d held on until she got there. He must have needed to say that for himself as well as her.

          Liked by 2 people

    • I just read a lovely post on another site with that very quote LInda. It gave me such comforted. The bible also said “blessed are those who mourn, they will be comforted” the post said God feels our suffering and weeps with us. Only a devil would laugh or not be touched by it.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Gabor Mate has written extensively about this very issue at length. To deny another’s realty by trying to gloss out the hurtful parts is abuse really. It has a terrible effect to be told you should feel the way you do not and as he points out its positively lethal for our auto immune systems. I agree wholeheartedly.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. sue

    Dear Cynthia, your blog is terrific.

    Liked by 1 person

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