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.