The Honest Truth about Being Positive

Positivity, authenticity, and expectations.

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Hey guys, long time no talk.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. It’s been a while since I sat down to write just for myself. It’s been a while since I’ve even felt like writing. Honestly, I don’t quite 100% feel like it now.

There’s a difference between wanting to post something and wanting to write something. When I post, I get the dopamine rush of positive feedback. Of people viewing my writing and leaving comments and telling me they enjoy it. Sure – its not all positive and my engagement numbers aren’t always where I want them to be – but still posting is better than not posting.

But writing something worth posting? It’s not as easy as it may seem. It’s not like I have endless ideas and inspiration and energy to write.

The majority of my posts in the past have a super positive theme. Endless optimism, positive self-reflection, do this & you’ll be happy tones. And for the last couple of months, I haven’t felt those themes deep down in my heart. I’m not saying I’ve had a rough few months – I really haven’t. I’m doing great. My life is pretty stable, I have a great relationship, my family is awesome, work is going well. It’s not perfect by any means – but I’m not struggling with anything super huge. I’m actually really happy in my day to day life.

But, I have lost a little bit of the ‘endless optimism’ that I was trying to exude for a while. Being positive 100% of the time just doesn’t feel authentic for me anymore. I still have an optimistic outlook on life, but my thoughts are more realistic now if that makes sense.

The endless stream of pinterest quotes and positive affirmations and “everything is going to be okay” just got old I guess. It felt a little draining to¬†ALWAYS be trying to force myself to think positive, and it didn’t feel like I was being real and honest with myself.

I saw a post the other day that talked about ‘toxic positivity.’ Forcing positivity all the time can actually be detrimental. Sometimes you just have to accept that your negative feelings are okay and normal, and simply telling yourself to think positive or focus on the positives isn’t always the way out. This post from Whitney Hawkins Goodman, a licensed therapist, gave me something to think about.

toxic positivity

For some people, the positive sayings actually do help them feel better. For others, it’s discouraging when you are trying to talk to them about your negative emotions and all they can give you is cliche positive platitudes. Sometimes people just need to know their negative emotions are acceptable and that they won’t last forever.

It’s just important to remember that there are multiple ways of thinking. There are multiple ways of dealing with emotions. One way isn’t necessarily better than the other, its pretty much dependent on the individual.

It got hard for me to write because I felt like people were expecting posts that were insightful and inspiring and uplifting and reflective and I just could not authentically write about something that I was not feeling. So, instead I just didn’t write.

Expectations are tricky. Sometimes, they’re real. People are actually expecting things out of you. And sometimes, they’re hypothetical. You just THINK people are expecting things out of you, when maybe they actually aren’t. I’m guilty of creating these hypothetical expectations in my head – and I’m guilty of letting them hold me back.

I’ve always struggled with the need to live up to other people’s expectations. Chronic people pleaser, guilty as charged. It’s hard to let go of that.

If you live your life to please other people, can you ever be truly happy with yourself?

I’d rather set expectations for myself and live up to those instead. It’s not like I want to be lazy and just not care about what other people need from me. It’s just that I want to make it a priority to create my own expectations.

I would rather achieve something because I knew that it was going to make ME happy, rather than because I knew it was going to make someone else happy.

I changed my expectation from “Write a positive, inspirational blog post because I think that’s what other people want” to “Write an authentic, original blog post” and miracle of miracles, I’m already sitting at 500 words after about 15 minutes of writing.

It’s hard to find your own voice in a world where there are already so many voices. It seems like every one and their mother has a blog these days and every one has something to say. It’s easy to echo the voices of others. It’s easy to write simple bullshit that creates catchy titles and generates lots of shares “OMG this is SO me” (is every single person in the world an introverted extrovert or what?)

It’s easy to write what you think everyone wants to hear. It’s easy to not get too deep.

It’s harder to write something authentic. To share what is really on your mind, to share what is actually weighing on your heart.

But you never know when what is on your heart is what is also on someone else’s. When what you write authentically can touch someone else and make them feel a little less alone.

You never know how your words can affect someone. Share them authentically. Share them wisely.

It’s good to be back writing, and I hope you’ll be hearing from me more. As always, thanks for reading and giving feedback. Share/like/comment to help me expand my impact!

 

Photo credit: 3 Little Birds Photography

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