A Positive Affirmation for Negative People

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You were coasting through life. Then someone convinced you to change course. Now you’re sailing against the wind, chasing the sun.

You were wadding through calm waters. Then someone convinced you that you were stewing in your own juices. You weren’t making waves, until they convinced you that you were floundering. They must have made a splash. They must have popped your comfort bubble. To have you swimming out into such uncharted depths.

You had achieved balance. Then someone convinced you that your world was askew. Your feet were on the ground. Then someone pulled the rug out from under you. Now you can’t even stand up for yourself.

You were happy, until someone convinced you that you weren’t happy enough.

Someone set the expectation that life ought to be lived with your head in the clouds. That to be down to earth is to be down in the dumps. Here you were thinking that you had made it. Turns out you had so much further to go. You try to get over hump but your New Year’s resolutions keep dragging you down. You set such lofty goals. Then you wonder why it’s getting harder to stay grounded.

Your new friend says, “When I want something, I go out and I get it. When there’s a challenge, I rise up to meet it.”

Alright Icarus, have a nice flight.

You were functioning just fine, before they convinced you to give yourself a tune up. Now you’re a wreck. They convinced you that your armor made you insecure. Now you’re picking up the pieces.

My advice, make peace with your default setting. So you’re an introvert. That’s not a defect. That’s just how you came off of the assembly line. So you’re sensitive. That’s not a character flaw. It’s a selling point. It takes a complete person to feel the full spectrum of human emotion. Just because you’re not elated all the time doesn’t mean that you’re depressed. You’re not a robot. Stop being so binary.

If you stay in the light, then you’ll never see what’s in your blind spots. If you only look on the bright side of things, then the darkness will always creep up on you.

So now they’ve got you out of your shell. They’ve made a mess of your comfort zone. They’ve got a mind for your business and business is booming. These happiness hustlers, these confidence cheerleaders, these pep police. They make your problem their problem until your problem is them. There are well wishers and then there are positivity puritans. Their glass might be half full, but it’s full of shit.

Tony Robbins may give his audience the confidence to walk on fire, but they’re really walking on ashes. Ashes that are good thermal insulators. It doesn’t matter if his attendees have a positive mental state when they approach the flames. Cinders have a low heat capacity. The soles of your feet have a high heat capacity. It’s not magic, it’s physics. It’s not mind over matter, it’s matter over mind.

They say it takes more muscles to frown than it does smile. How many does it take to recite that tired platitude? There are studies that say forcing a smile can make you feel happier, for a moment. There are also studies that say suppressing your anger can kill you. You can fake it until you make it or you can make it until they make you fake it.

Listen, your head is above water. Isn’t that high enough? Your eyes are on the horizon. Do they really need to see your house from here? Do you have the inner strength to admit that you’re strong enough already?

There’s nothing wrong with personal growth, just don’t expect it to always come in spurts. There’s nothing wrong with having a positive outlook, but there’s a time and a place for everything. A wake is not one of them. Hide your smile behind your veil and keep your bright eyes on the casket, and try not to high five the corpse.

Now there’s nothing wrong with joy. Follow your joy. Emphasis on the word “your.’ Don’t let someone else define it for you. Don’t let them tell you that you haven’t earned enough merit badges to feel it. You know what I’m talking about: the independently wealthy merit badge, the healthy relationship merit badge, the proud parent merit badge. Hey, good on you if you’ve got ‘em. Just realize that joy is not uniform and not everybody likes to accessorize.

Happiness is not a competitive sport. We all have different finish lines. It’s okay to be happy without an explanation point. It’s okay to love something in lower case. It’s okay to answer, “How’s it going” with “fine.” Some of us just feel “good” most of the time. We save “fantastic” for special occasions. Since when did adequate become the new inadequate? Since when did eleven become the only spot on the dial?

If you meet the mundane with enthusiasm, then what will you have left for the exciting? If you meet the dull with love, then what will you feel for the exceptional? You can’t give everyone one-hundred and ten percent. It’s mathematically impossible. It’s perfectly rational to ration.

So your new friends hate negative people? Well that’s their problem, isn’t it?

It’s called self improvement, not mob improvement. Don’t put your wellbeing to a vote. Don’t put your life decisions to a comity. You don’t need the entire world’s approval. Don’t measure yourself by their yardstick.

Why struggle to stay positive, when neutral is your baseline? Why get stoked, when calm is within your range? Why swim against the current, when you can go with the flow? Why mess with a good thing? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

You were coasting through life. Then someone convinced you to change course. Now you’re sailing against the wind, chasing the sun. There’s no shame in waiting for it to come to you.

5 thoughts on “A Positive Affirmation for Negative People”

  1. Great post Drew… To be positive; to chase the sun; even when it is a rainy day… Half full or half empty at the end it is our choice to look it one way or the other… PERSPECTIVE it what defines our reality (well I guess somehow it does)…

    Aquileana 😉

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  2. Oh so true. “Positive” is one of those preach-to-the-choir words, full of “Just be *all* smiles, right *now*!” It’s not even very persuasive: a real friend or a decent people person would slow down and find a version of “good enough” or “hang in there” that had something to do with where we actually were. The glass is still half-full anyway, but do they always have to ignore the other half?

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  3. You know what Drew, as a “glass half-full” kinda gal, I think this works both ways. Reading this helped bring my perception of your true story Andrew into focus. I can’t speak for everyone, but for me, it’s like this.

    I spent my childhood learning about what made me different from others, and what I needed to change to be accepted. I spent my teenage years and early twenties trying my best to fit into certain categories. Like your movie star persona (Drew), I had developed this person who was like an outer shell. The one people saw every day and knew pretty well. We shared our names, our physical traits, but little else. It was great, for a while. That other person was my armor, keeping the world at arm’s length.

    Here’s where you and I may or may not differ. She was my hero turned antagonist. At some point, I’d handed over the reigns and stopped trying to get back to just being me. The longer that went on, the more of myself I lost. When I did finally hit rock bottom, I shattered that armor into so many pieces, there’s no way I could ever go back to being that person again.

    As far as my story goes, that’s the happy ending that led to the beginning of the rest of my life. Me as the protagonist overcoming my nemesis (myself), who both happened to be optimists. As it pertains to your story and this post, be you. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with you just being you. Be your brand of happy. If you’re a glass half-empty kind of guy, that’s fine, as long as that glass isn’t half-full of shit.

    😉

    Thanks again for sending me on yet another introspective walk. Cheers to many more!

    – Jess

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