Updated: Mar 26, 2019
Okay. Deep breath in. Annnnnd out!
In my relationships as a coach, friend and educator, I always try and invite others to put a positive spin on things, look for the learning emerging from any situation or experience, stay present and, most importantly, move forward with action.
Being positive is a choice. It means choosing a positive perspective; one that allows me to understand the situation and work it out in order to reach some kind of compromise, improve things and grow from there.
Positivity does NOT at all mean seeing all problems, abusive situations and obstacles as 'good' and accepting them for what they are. It is not about becoming passive in challenging situations and lying to ourselves and hoping that it will 'all work itself out'. That is laziness. That is the attitude of someone who has given up on themselves!
Positive thinking does NOT mean 'ignoring your problems' and 'pretending' everything is ok, which sounds more like denial. Saying to ourselves that 'it'll all go away' and that 'it won't work anyway' and 'don't worry; be happy' and 'let's hope for the best' reflects a defeatist attitude and one that stems from our inner-critic rather than from an expanded place where we are honoring our values and daring to create our own lives.
Positivity is NOT about repressing or ignoring your feelings. It doesn't mean getting rid of 'negative feelings' either. There is no such thing as a 'negative emotion'. As human beings, it is essential for us to live fully and experience the whole range of emotions. Emotions can act as a point of access into our intuition. They help us tap into our own inner-wisdom and guide our behavior and our decision-making. This allows us to live and act from a place of authenticity and connectedness rather than a place of inertia and denial.
This doesn't mean though that we should reinforce and stay stuck in feelings of anger, pain and fear and allow those emotions to rule our lives. As it is often said: "Pain is necessary. Suffering is optional". Again, it is all about the choice we make and about making that brave decision to do something different because we 'deserve' better.
In a nutshell, I am not calling for saying to ourselves repeatedly: "I am fine" while watching the ship disappear in the depths with everyone in it. That's probably 'positive sinking' ... or for those who, like me, appreciate a little dark humor on a Thursday afternoon, that is rather 'positively sinking'!
Back to emotional intelligence: Let EVERY single emotion, including those emanating from fear, give you insights into what is blocking your creativity, what is keeping you from honoring your values and what is standing in the way of your dreams!
Ask yourself: "What am I afraid of?" This inquiry has the potential to help you start unlocking what is there behind the feeling and start freeing your creativity in how you look at things, which in turn allows you to ultimately transform your life.
Positivity is about HOW I choose to react and WHAT I learn from everything life brings to me. It is also a lifestyle choice. Constant negativity is extremely harmful to my physical, emotional and mental health so I am in no way advocating that. To be honest with you, the main reason why I am writing this article is personal. When I recognize dysfunction and abuse, I get tired of hearing people respond to me repeatedly with things like: 'Oh, but you are the positive person'. 'You are the health expert'. 'Don't stress yourself out'...
I consciously choose not to allow dysfunction and mediocrity to become the norm in my life. I choose to live with expansion and while honoring my values. I choose to recognize stress, inadequacy, limitations and grow from those while enriching my life and the lives of others around me.
Let positivity be an empowering and uplifting choice. Not a way to check out from your own life and accepting defeat.