I googled it to cut some time in locating a definition. 229,000,000 answers. I just don’t have that sort of time. Hold on, I need to grab my coffee for this one.
I’ve been watching the spider build this web for over a month now. The lawn dudes keep swiping it away as they meticulously manicure the grounds. I like it a lot shaggier and wild than this but, I digress.
I don’t believe that it’s ‘negative’ to not be positive all the time. The same is true for retraining our brain to BE positive. The reason is …
1st ~ everyone’s brain is different
2nd ~ we all interpret the world a bit differently from one another
3rd ~ we are all connected to this wild ride energy force, so can be influenced one way or another by the people, places, experiences, belief systems, schooling, likes, dislikes, loves, brain chemistry, family systems, cultures, etc.
There are too many variables to list here, but this gets the point across.
Some people are saying that to be positive, we bring a light into the place we go and become influencers. And yet, Robin Williams, Anthony Bourdain, Jim Carrey, Katy Perry, The Rock, Lady Gaga, Michael Phelps, Kristen Bell, Prince Harry ~ again, long list, little time. are powerful influencers who also suffer or have suffered being highly sensitive people to the point where, the openly talked about depression.
Eeyore ~ is my favorite character in the 100 Acre wood. I get him. He makes the storyline whole. Each character represents an emotion but when we were kids, we didn’t realize that. The parts of the friend group made up the whole.
Empathy + compassion = love.
All people who have brought great light into the lives of others, yet have openly talked about suffering from depression
are the true heroes of our wholeness with the world.
Creative people feel their feelings stronger than others.
Let them be.
See, the positive psychology movement never said, or was not supposed to go in the direction of saying that suffering didn’t exist.
It wasn’t trying to “fix” depression or sadness or even erase grief as if it didn’t exist.
Yet, some influencers in the field went there ~ which is fecked up ’cause what that does is cause MORE suffering for those who now also walk around feeling guilty for not being an upbeat ray of sunshine all the time. People are calling out the positivity movement in droves.
I love that actors are outing their UNhappiness.
That’s where the movement needs to go. To a place of suffering without shame, without blame, and without a need to please the rest of the world.
Feeling WHOLE is more human than anything that’s only a part of a person.
They feel trapped in the web of social media influence that has turned their sadness into the closet full of their emotions.
Because of the trickle down effect. First, these millionaire big name influential Ivy League celebrity Professors are hitting up all the giant conferences for the big companies.
Hey ~ it’s commerce and they want to make money so charge $50K a speaking engagement ~ why shouldn’t they? If a person can hire a ghost writer, then claim to have written a book, then ask that, the big name professor who did his/her own research (sort of) gets to ask it.
That trickles back to the HR department trainings that teach their employees how to use the PP in the workplace ~ thinking it’s an easy fix to some of the morale issues.
Then, those people bring it to the middle managers, who we all know, aren’t always a ray of sunshine, but now, have a happiness index to achieve and quotas of productivity to meet, so happiness becomes mandated.
Required sunshine and rainbows or else. It’s right in the job descriptions ~ go look at Indeed, or Glassdoor. Happiness is now required ~ that also slips into the way people look. Fat people are so UN-happy … right? They can’t legally say “old” or, “fat”, or “wears weird clothes” but you better bet your bottom dollar, they ARE screening for it.
So? Now we are talking about weeding out the UN-pretty people from the get go, in tandem with saying, ‘why won’t anyone work for us’. Um?
Because people are smart. They are aware. They are culturally sensitive and can smell fake a mile away.
One person told me that they were “sick of all this mindfulness shit because it was being shoved down their throats” by the Principal of the school system. The same system that once used, “respect” as a school theme ~ then proceeded to have the all white administrative team dress up like Black women from the 70’s ~ including padding their butts and doing afro wigs ~ singing while bobbing their heads to Aretha Franklin’s “Respect”. They were VERY proud of themselves.
When I casually mentioned how racist and blindly inappropriate that was, and that it most likely deeply offended the four black kids in the school, well, let’s just say, I didn’t leave there popular.
We can’t MAKE people see what we see.
That’s the point. If we don’t get everyone on board with what our motive is, the entire concept is lost.
We also can’t sacrifice some to appease the few.
Like that spider web ~ it starts to fall apart. Then, we have to add an emoji spider ’cause the gardener killed the real one, leaving the fake message up, but not really being able to change the culture.
Which was the point in the first place.
What happens when we demand and even force happiness on people?
They celebrate their cranky, mean spirited, closeted rage. Then, the company culture feels the pain. They just don’t know why. They made everyone SO HAPPY!
Why not give them a rage page?
Speaking of teachers ~ there was a page/group on Facebook that was thousands of teachers who all used it to vent. Holy hell in a hand basket! These people let loose!
If that’s all I ever knew about the field, whew! I would be convinced that all teachers hate their job, hate the parents, hate their way of life, complain all the time about everything and rage to high heaven about their working conditions.
I asked them (again, making me VERY unpopular) ~ but it was an honest question, not at all filled with malice,
“If you are so unhappy with your job, why do you do it? There are a lot of other jobs that will pay more, offer more work satisfaction, and give you what you need.”
Do NOT ask a teacher that question!
I got blasted by many …. many of them. How DARE I suggest … well, you can imagine.
I flew right into that one. The web of raging teachers verbally beat me up but good.
In controlled settings in research, we can ask any questions we want. On a whim, after reading thousands of “I hate this job” posts …not so much.
I thought about Mel Robins and got out of there.
These people weren’t “stuck” ~ they LIKED being miserable. They LIKED to kvetch to blow off steam. They LOVED their jobs, but wanted to be in communion with complaining ~ daily.
A stress reliever?
I see the benefits of it ~ respect.
I think this is also why I jumped off the positive psychology train ~ where it’s heading anyway. It’s unrealistic to be THAT happy and THAT positive all the time. Sorry, but it is.
There is no shame or embarrassment in struggling with mental health.
Instead of adding to normalizing an open discussion about our mental health as a whole, the industry took a left turn that ended up SHAMING people who were experiencing a chemical imbalance in our brains, or lower levels of happiness as a whole (I’ll talk about that research in another post, it’s there).
Being sad, depressed, mad, worried, afraid, or any of the other “negatives” is not a bad thing.
Collectively attacking anyone who disagrees with them on the internet ~ that’s pretty fecked up. That happens too. I’ve been part of those discussions. Don’t let them fool you for a minute.
They are human, after all ~ and have bad days … plus some of them are serious jerks. Preach and teach ~ an odd combination.
Employers will screen you out if you don’t meet their happiness quota. This is so vastly unfair to the quiet people; the introverts; the grieving; the naturally more anxious.
But that’s what’s happening.
While people are profiting from forcing happiness down our global throats, other people just trying to make a living and exist, are having to suffer in silence while they disguise their depression and anxiety to the point of taking drastic measures.
The same Principal who was shoving “mindfulness” down her employees throats almost totally lost it when I took a child out of a school pep rally to walk with her in the quieter halls. She was on the autism spectrum, having a panic attack. The leader only listened to her own idea of the rightness of things.
She was closed off from hearing what her students and employees had to say. Not great.
It’s cruel. It’s inhumane. Its unrealistic and honestly ~ in some cases, its criminal.
Give people a break. Give people some space. Allow them to be creative where they are, instead of trying to force their foot into the wrong shoes.
Let them be.
Nobody can actually walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.
Nice gesture ~ usually lost on the person.
If they all gather on a Facebook group to kvetch about their jobs ~ stay out of it and let them alone.
They clearly need to vent to let off some steam.
Mind your business middle managers. Be confident enough in your own job as a leader to know that your followers NEED to bitch and complain but will come back better for it. Just ~ if you ARE the kvetcher ~ don’t unpack and live there. That’s JUST as toxic and annoying.
Middle ground ~ balance ~ find both pro and con ~ yin and yang ~ that’s internal and external ~ if ALL you do is complain … well that’s not good for anyone.
The racist shit? That has to stop. That’s an archaic, antiquated, hate filled tirade that has no place in the 21st century. It’s ridiculous ~ but I’ll rage if I go off on that tangent.
This one is this. The opposite of “positive’ ~ is ambivalence. Being too happy or not caring at all.
Opposites are forcing everyone to be happy all the time OR, not caring at all about anyone.
Okay, technically, it is negative but at least with ‘negative’ ~ there is still passion.
FAKE positive can be more negative than honest negative.
In other words ~ how about trading in “the positive psychology” movement for “the honest truth psychology” movement.
It doesn’t look as good on bumper stickers, but it will get the job done in helping people to feel whole and human.
In peace and truth,
(c) @happinessnoir @InkHoneyPub @K.ArenHenryMiller