The positivity factor
text size

The positivity factor

I try not to wax philosophical in this space very often because I don't want my dear readers to actually know how many crazy voices float around in my head. But lately, perhaps because there's been too much on my Plato (har, har, get it?), I feel obliged to meditate on one phenomenon I can't quite figure out — the positivity factor.

 As a generally short-tempered and easily irritable person, I'm a joy to have at dinner parties. Well, that's just so fellow guests can preach to me about the benefits of positive thinking, being optimistic, and visualising my dreams so that they become a reality.

If that really worked, how come positively thinking that they stop annoying me, being optimistic that the conversation will end soon, and visualising that their mouths cease moving doesn't work?

But I digress.

I can't pinpoint the exact moment that my fellow peers started dedicating their lives to spiritual awakenings, lunar movements, and going on and on about their chakras. Perhaps this memo wasn't able to penetrate through my pessimistic force field.

All I know is that these days, whether through conversation or social media posts, I hear/see feel-good updates about cutting out all the negativity, training your mind to float on a cloud of positivity, and cheerleader-like motivation to "be the best version of you" or something to that sappy effect.

Not to mention the barrage of hashtags claiming "happy", "joy", "grateful", "positive vibes", "positive thinking", "positive energy", and oh, did I mention "positive"? I blame Oprah.

It's not that I'm a universe hater who gets joy out of seeing children cry or thinks the world revolves around me; heck, I believe there's an energy greater than any one individual out there. I think it would be selfish and narcissistic to think otherwise.

I also subscribe to the belief that there are many benefits to being positive, whether just to get through a rough work day or in more serious situations where optimism is required. Nobody wants to be around the miserable grump, after all.

The difficulty I have with this school of thought is that if you're not positive, you're negative.

If I complain about my problems (real or imagined), I'm told to stop drowning in negativity. If things piss me off (which they often do), it's met with some "don't worry, be happy" type statement. If I'm having a bad day (it happens), then you can bet it's countered with a manifesto on putting out positive vibes.

Contrary to what it sounds like, I'm not always cranky by the way. But when I do attempt to deal with the not-so-good parts of life, I feel like the so-called positive responses are dismissive.

Whatever happened to just being real and rolling with the punches? Is it wrong to tackle things for what they are, rather than what you wish they would be? Why can't you be both positive and negative? Or does this make me sound like a universe hater again?

We all go through a range of different emotions at any given time, and it makes me wonder if people are hurling positivity buzzwords and inspirational quotes around as a way to shield themselves from actually having to deal with reality. I mean, it's better than saying everything sucks and the world is crap, right?

But on the other hand, it makes me question if our tolerance to deal with stress and negative events have become so low, that we're all looking to each other for some sort of superficial motivation and encouragement.

I admit, I'm not very well versed on the science of spirituality and all that energy stuff (obviously, since I'm referring to it as "energy stuff"). But I think it's safe to say that no matter our outlook and individual beliefs, we are all trying to find our own personal formula for happiness.  

In my opinion, positivity is a state of being, something you actually live — not a hashtag you add to your pictures to get more likes. Some people find happiness through meditation, some through exercising, some through cross-dressing.

And for some, like me, sometimes you need a little negativity to find your positive side. In the meantime, I won't stop being optimistic that I'll become a billionaire by the time I'm 30.

Sumati Sivasiamphai

Former Guru Editor

Our Guru section former editor. She has writen numerous features the metro lifestyle section.

Do you like the content of this article?