Years ago, I found Kate Bowler’s podcast “Everything Happens”
I was smitten to see the “for a reason” crossed off on the cover art.
One of the challenges with identifying as a mindset coach is that people expect I will help them create a life that’s happy, happy, shiny, shiny.
Another challenge is that people expect me to be happy, happy, shiny, shiny.
Nope and nope.
I think there is an astounding amount of pressure created by the cultural impetus to “Be positive.”
The underlying assumption is flawed.
Be positive = be more effective
I don’t believe this to be true.
Here’s what I currently believe is a fruitful life recipe:
Connect to your power of choice + make those choices decisively = intentional life (aka, a “good” life)
Why am I a fan of the intentional life?
I believe the intentional life is free from:
- People pleasing
- Distracting thoughts of self-blame (victimization) or blaming others
These things are beyond annoying. They are expensive, time consuming and exhausting.
Positive thinking is not necessary or even all that helpful when you are living on purpose.
It feels good in the moment and it might bring you closer to your power of choice.
Or it could just be a line you’re feeding yourself and others.
Positive self-talk assumes that a “good” mood is a factor in being effective with your time and attention.
That focusing on getting and staying in good vibes will keep you directionally motivated to your goal.
But, for some people, positive thinking can create pressure.
There’s the effort required to work on a task, relationship, project, goal.
And then there’s another layer of effort to feel positive or good while doing it.
There are consequences to this focus on “being positive.”
One is that people are often labeled “negative” if they are not “positive.”
But, is this sorting all that usefull?
Seriously, for fun, ask yourself, “What’s so bad about being ‘negative’?”
In all honesty, I don’t think it matters if you have a positive or negative mindset, on balance, if you are happy with the results you are creating in your life.
I personally know several people who are all out grumps and they are satisfied with their life’s results.
For some people, the energy devoted to maintaining a positive mindset diverts energy from creating healthy habits, completing tasks, and deepening relationships.
In my own life, I have noticed some relationships losing depth as there is a mandate to “be” or “stay” positive.
This shows up as:
- Having a rough spell in life? Oh, could be worse!
- Dealing with an unexpected and serious diagnosis? Well, everything happens for a reason!
- Life taking a very disappointing turn? Stay strong, you’ll get through this!
Listen, I get it, maybe it’s not great to spin out in a downward spiral of blame, overwhelm confusion, or sadness.
But it’s not great to avoid all of that by slapping a shiny filter on top of it. Being on the receiving end can feel like you’re being dismissed.
This week, dear reader, I invite you to notice the messaging you have in your mind and in your own community about “negative” and “positive.”
Question those messages. See the underlying stories. Ask if it alleviates or creates pressure for you. Ask if it’s bringing you closer to or creating distance from those you love.
There is life with its assortment of events. There is your choice in how to react.
So…you can be a grouch if you want to…and still create a wildly fulfilling, creative, intentional life.
“Positive” and “negative” are subjective, anyway, so what does it matter?
Isn’t that a fun concept to ponder?
P.S. Please click here to sign up for my free mini-class “3 Ways to Reduce Stress TODAY!”