Positivity is a good thing. It energizes us and helps us see the good in seemingly bad situations. Sometimes the only thing that keeps us going is positivity. If you ask me I think positive thinking is a good way of living life and helping us be more receptive of others. It can really be our armor against many fears and insecurities that we have no reason to have but develop due to circumstances.
However, there is a fine line between being a positive person and being a foolishly positive person. And here’s how I think some people can truly be fooling themselves when they ignore the signs, let go of abuse and cover up others’ faults to a fault.
Going into an experience with an open mind and an unscrupulous heart is a great way to initiate that experience. You will learn more and experience more too. You will likely see the experience for what it was and bring home some good, character-building, approach-altering principles from it. This is my preferred way of approaching any experience.
Going into an experience with the stipulation that this experience has to be such and such in order to be positive is what formative experiences are all about. This is a sign of maturity. This helps in dealing with bad experiences. This helps in learning from bad experiences.
Living life with the blinders that prevent the sun and rain from reaching us is not having an experience. It’s like watching a 4D movie and thinking you’re a part of it. Sure your feet are wet and the seat moved a few times but you’re firmly plonked in your place, every hair in place, not a single neuron rewired, not a single lasting memory formed. This isn’t learning or experiencing. This isn’t a great way to experience anything. May be a movie but not life.
Life’s experiences range from childhood to adulthood. From adulthood we revert in someways to childhood and face dependency again. In all these years we experience religion, culture, physical and emotional relationships, career decisions and decisions about our children and parents.
Imagine if we experienced all of the above with a preemptive expectation of a positive experience coming our way. What would it do to you? First of all, it would create a lot of expectation. The higher the expectation, the more chances of disappointment.
Second of all, it won’t prepare us to accept if the experience is not positive at all. It would lead us to think that the experience was positive, whatever that experience really was. See what I’m getting at? You’re fooling yourself but that’s not changing the experience. You’re fooling yourself into putting a positive spin on sometimes a truly negative experience because you can’t meet the unexpected. Because you didn’t go into it with an open mind. Because you didn’t put stipulation on the experience. Because you didn’t accept that an experience like marriage or religion or child bearing or working a demanding job or being financially responsible for your family would not be a wholly positive one. You can’t take the truth. And when you can’t take the truth, chances are that you’ll be exploited more by the people who directly benefit from your blinders.
Nothing is a positive experience in all its aspects. Sure overall parenting is a positive experience but there are dark moments too. There is a lot to unpack with our kids. Not all of it is rainbows and sunshine. Not all of it is formative. Not all of it nourishes your soul. Not all of it you were prepared for.
Sure overall marriage is a positive experience. But the demands of marriage can sometimes not be so positive. Sure the way we handle those demands make up part of the experience but there is always the chance of things going awry. When we look back on our marriage the experience is overall fulfilling in most marriages. But the most fulfilled of marriages have despondent moments. If you haven’t had those then take your blinders off.
So here’s what I say
“Stop pretending to be a positive person. Stop going into an experience with a hard hat but brimming with self-proclaimed positivity. That’s an oxymoron. Accept that you’re scared and that you don’t know what to expect. Also go into an experience with the caveat that you hope for it to turn out a certain way and failure of that may lead to this not being a positive one. Know that the real experience isn’t a positive one always. The real experience is the teaching one, the changing one, the rewiring one, the uplifting one, the disappointing one, the grounding one, the embarrassing one. That’s the real experience. When we expect positivity out of every experience, we automagically set ourselves up for disappointment”.