let me tell you one thing:
i fucking hate this whole 'stay positive' philosophy.
fuck 'think happy thoughts'.
fuck 'don't worry be happy'.
fuck all these inspirational quotes that make you feel like you failed at living if you're not a happy & cheerful optimist 24/7.
now let me explain you why.
1) escapism won't solve your problems
in my opinion, it is simply impossible to stay 100% positive your whole life considering the world / society we live in. thus, staying positive all the time seems like a lie to me. it's an act of escaping from the problems; it's running away, hiding and pretending nothing is happening. that won't solve any problems though, quite the contrary actually. it will all hunt you down again. it could be the issues you're having with your partner which you pretend do not exist, or the anger you build inside yourself while living the everything's perrrfect life. it will eventually get back at you; at least that's my experience.
2) one size does not fit all
perhaps i should say 'one way of living does not fit all' instead. if you enjoy living your life with an extremely positive mindset, well, i'm glad for you - but don't try to shove it down my throat and force me to live the same way. the thing is, some people, including me for example, are quite happy with their negativeness, bitterness, pessimism, what-have-you. there's no need for converting them to your 'religion of happiness'. don't tell anyone to smile, don't tell anyone to cheer up, don't tell anyone to 'think happy thoughts' - they'd do it if they wanted. and if they don't want to, it's none of your business.
3) anger, sadness or bitterness are not always a bad thing
many people are ostensibly trying to avoid any negative emotions, simply because being nice and easygoing is what is considered 'the ideal personality' in our society. (but we all know that all those ideals are bullshit, right?) but why should everything that's negative be bad? first of all, it's a very good way to cope with situations that are overwhelming in not-the-best-way. it's natural. it's how our bodies react. fighting against it just does not seem logical to me. furthermore, you can always turn the negative into something, right? i mean, i totally believe that 'anger is an energy'.
4) some people just can't stay positive
so, there's this really nasty health problem any of us can get and it's called mental illness. you've probably heard about that, right? well, surprise, surprise, people suffering from this illness just cannot stay super-happy 24/7. there is a certain, overwhelming thing in them which simply does not allow to be like that all the time - and it is really, really important to understand that. if you keep this in mind, perhaps you'll also understand how inappropriate it is to say 'cheer up!' or 'don't be so depressed all the fucking time' to someone suffering from any kind of mental illness. in a sense, it's a bit like telling someone on a wheelchair to 'at least try' climbing up a staircase - absolutely inappropriate.
i like how the author of this article called Is Positive Thinking Oppressing You? puts it:
'Moreover, for disabled people – as for any group of marginalized people – these kinds of messages can become oppressive, because they feed into the idea that if only we tried hard enough, or had a good enough attitude, we could single-handedly make our lives better. For disabled people, this way of thinking can take the pernicious form of being blamed for the state of our own bodies, as though we somehow caused our disabilities with poor psychological habits and could somehow cure them with the proper way of thinking. It leads away from self-love into self-blame.'
5) it's okay not to be okay
this section is essentially why i decided to write this article. the fact that there is so much pressure on people to live the perfect lives nowadays has already been addressed as a negative factor on our psyche in academical papers, articles etc. perhaps that's the reason why we're using antidepressants and visit therapists much more than ever. the stay positive philosophy teaches that if you're not staying positive all the time, you're not living your life properly.
but having negative feelings, such as anxiety, grief, being stressed and so on, does not mean you're a failure. as i've said earlier, all of these are your body's / mind's natural reactions to certain unfortunate events and they actually help you with coping them, therefore you should not try to suppress them. it's okay to fuck up, it's okay to cry, it's okay to scream at someone.
i'd sum it up with an excerpt from a brilliant article by Toni Bell:
'Several articles and books have been written on the negative aspects of positivity. In 2013, Tori Rodriquez wrote an article entitled “Negative Emotions are the Key to Well- Being.” In 2009, renowned author Barbara Ehrenreich published Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America. Both writers dismantled the illogic of the cult of positive thinking. This need for positivity is a bizarre form of denial that reeks of a more pervasive and unattainable goal – the desire to control everything. The reasoning goes something like this: If I control my thoughts, I control my reality and everything that happens. And I must control my thoughts to make them positive all the time. Therefore, my reality will be positive all the time – forever.
That line of thinking doesn’t benefit anyone and is delusional.
Allowing oneself to feel the full gamut of emotions is what it means to be fully human. Forcing oneself to live in positivity isn’t positive. It creates a muted existence that lacks vibrancy and expression. So, when you’re happy, feel that in every fiber of your being. When you’re angry, use that to set your boundaries. When you’re sad or grieving, allow yourself to weep. Feeling it all is what’s truly all good.'