The Perils of Positivity
In doing my meditation/mindfulness work, I meet many folks who focus much of their thought, mind and spirit on being positive. Most would think this is a total, kick butt way to live. There are even companies, websites and Facebook pages committed to the upbeat idea.
So, here comes Debbie Downer (that’s me) to tell ya that pursuing positivity can actually foster the opposite. Ooo, negativity! Hiss! Boo!
How can that be?
OK… think about it or even better, feel it. To focus on the positive, you must also somehow/someway acknowledge the negative. In other words, to see one; you must also see the other. And, what do you do with this negativity? You must rise above it, step it up, push it away or push it down. Feel those last couple of words… they are all about workin’ it. Basically what is created in this scenario is an inner, energetic tug of war creating conflict between your mind and soul.
Also, let’s talk about the judgment component. At its heart, positivity on some level can’t be done without also judging. If you judge something, you are not only critiquing the person or situation but you are also, in essence, critiquing yourself. Good, bad, smart, stupid, unjust, corrupt, mean, nice. Your mind struggles and picks to figure out what is “right.”
To end this push/pull, I recommend stepping into mindfulness – a gentler process of learning to see things from a broader and more empathetic perspective.
How is this done? Don’t get me wrong, it ain’t easy. It is an evolution that is incredibly simple, yet very challenging. It involves watching yourself like a graceful hawk.
When you see yourself going into positivity mode, get back into you by utilizing your breath and examine the situation again. Take the time to feel your body and then really see what your mind is doing and how the two interact. Why are you critiquing this person/situation? Where does it make you internally uncomfortable? Why do you not “like” what is going on? Question everything gently and see what you discover.
Initially, this takes a good deal of effort but as you continue the process it becomes more and more automatic. You will also find that so many of your judgments are about old ideas or perceptions. Ideas that you don’t need to carry anymore or that you acted on with total unawareness.
So, be aware. Be in touch. Move into authenticity mode. This is learning to just be yourself in any moment and also allowing others to do the same. That is pure freedom!
Then you will discover something else quite radical. Nobody is ever wrong or right or just or unjust… everything just is. The battle is now officially over.