Positively Toxic

There’s a new catchphrase in town: toxic positivity.
Who knew that anything positive could be toxic.
Well, as it turns out, it can.
It turns out that there can be so much positivity that it fails to recognize other people’s true negative feelings.
And that, as it also turns out, can be a bad thing.
Trust it to the negative nancys and the debbie downers and the gloomy gusses to find a way to ruin positivity for us all.
They would prefer to wallow.
To have their expectations of true negativity not negated by an ounce of positivity, thank you very much!
And I get it.
Not everyone wants to have sunny ways foisted upon them all the time.
There needs to be time and space for all emotions and feelings, for sure.
The bad ones have to be dwelled upon and sat in for some time in order to healthily clear the way for positivity and optimism.
I have been accused of being far too positive at times.
My roommate at the hospital where I was having my hip replaced some years ago told me straight up that I was far too cheerful for her liking.
I didn’t tone it down.
Being positive was the only thing that got me through that dark time.
The fear and uncertainty of having a hip replaced can only be understood by someone having a hip replaced.
I think I actually did go through a period of depression before the surgery because of the pain, but afterwards, when there was no pain, look out! I was back to my sunny old self in no time.
And I am not ashamed to say that I DO look for the positive side in virtually everything.
Because there always IS a sunny side.
And I have never had anyone before or since my hip replacement roommate tell me I was too cheerful for their liking.
It seems to be appreciated that I can find a silver lining to every situation.
Because perhaps most people like to pull at threads and scratch at scabs and see how far they can go before the sweater falls to pieces or the wound becomes bloody again.
And even though a situation or an event may actually be bad, there is always an upside.
Look at the pandemic, for example.
So many good things came out of that terrible, terrible couple of years: more people are able to work from home, we are a cleaner society, the planet had a few years off from being polluted by us dirty humans, we became more connected through a forced disconnect.
Even a terrible thing such as death can have a positive spin.
My mother died last summer, but the year leading up to her death was wonderful because I visited with her at least once per week and have many good memories of those visits.
And now I will be visiting with her only surviving sibling this summer in a family visit that will take me to England.
So, there are some positives that are in there along with the terribleness of grief and trauma and loss.
But one does have to look.
And looking is what I like to do best.
I seem hardwired to be determined to find the good in things.
It seems to be my salvation somehow.
Perhaps also working in the news business for over two decades has contributed to that.
Some days, it was hard to find the good in people, when you are trained to only report on the bad: if it bleeds, it leads! was the catchphrase of the news day.
And so yes, while I do agree that one can never be and should never be one hundred per cent positive all the time, one can be close.
It doesn’t take much more effort.
In fact, science shows that it takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown.
So being positive takes even less physical effort.
It is actually easier.
That should help the naysayers pipe down right there.
And as for me, I’ll continue to put on my “The sun will come out tomorrow” hat and always look for the sunny side of the street.

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