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Emotions Are a Balancing Act

It’s no secret that I’ve had a rough two weeks, so I was surprised today when I came across an article that discussed gratitude. There was a time when I would roll my eyes at such a discussion, but this one caught my eye.

You see, the world can be an overly confusing, frightening place. We’re told to be authentic, but there are certain rules we must follow in public, such as at work or a certain event, whether personal or professional. Then we’re told not to be fake, but admonished if we’re a little casual outside of our safe places.

There’s a new word hitting the internet: toxic positivity. It’s when you shrug off the negativity in your life and focus on the positive, at the risk of completely ignoring the former. So, where do we draw the line?

Toxic positivity has its merit, as much as it bothers the “glass half full” folks. I hate it when I’m in a bad mood or something is weighing me down and I’m told to look at the bright side. I mean, can’t I have my moment? Can’t I just mope around and hate the world for just a bit? Apparently, not according to the positive folks. I’m expected to merely forget the bad and focus on the good.

There’s a fine line though. Yes, we should try to be more grateful. There’s enough negativity in the world – earthquakes, mass shootings, rejections, disappointments – that it would be detrimental to focus only on that. But that’s not to say that our job is to forget the world’s misgivings and only plan for happy days. It’s frustrating, frankly. As I said, I want my moments to dwell so I can learn from mistakes and find ways to rebuild.

So where am I going with this? Only that we need to find a balance and learn to appreciate our feelings, negative or not. Yes, we shouldn’t dwell too hard on the down times, but we shouldn’t disillusion ourselves by only creating happy cycles. We need to respect and accept the fact that we’re going to have both bad days and good days and to work diligently on finding a way to manage both. We owe it to ourselves to be as authentic as possible, and accepting life as it comes your way is the only path to that goal.


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