The Power of Positivity?

By Meghan Hewitt

Are you a naturally positive person? I’m not. I’m a skeptic. I’m overly critical. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t walk around with a storm cloud over my head, kicking stones and sighing. I just don’t exude that overtly positive vibe. A few years back,  I was going through a rough time. I was miserable at my job. I got pretty down. Friends would send me messages with all types of positive quotes and sayings and you know what, it made me FEEL WORSE. Seeing all these messages about how a positive mindset will open doors and everything will be rainbows and butterflies. I started to think that something was wrong with me. “ Why am I like this?”, “Why can’t I be super positive all the time?”. This inward thinking had a snowball effect on my mental health. I felt shame for being me.

It wasn’t until recently that I had a true “eye-opening” experience. Recently, I enlisted the help of a health coach. I was skeptical, but I am trying to expand my horizons. The first time we spoke, I was assumed that she was going to give me the “let's be super happy all the time even though you feel like garbage” pitch (I was already inwardly rolling my eyes). Do you know what she said, she said  “ You don’t have to be positive. Everyone is different, we need all kinds of people in this world to criticize and analyze the world. Imagine if everything was rainbows and butterflies, it’s just not realistic”. I think I just sat there blinking. What….being myself was OK?!

I never really labeled myself as a negative person. I would consider myself a “realist”, maybe. Maybe it was my science driven background, or my time as a nurse that made me realize that we don’t always get the outcomes we want. It's a fact of life. For me to cope with life, I need to know all possible outcomes. Yes, this situation can turn out the way I want, or it may not. The act of me acknowledging the worst possible outcomes, helps me cope. That's it.  

So, the point of this blog post wasn’t to encourage you to all become negative. It’s to encourage you to be unapologetically you. Positive, Negative, Neutral, or whatever. We all need the dark to appreciate the light. But,  let me leave you with these words. Negativity becomes harmful when you lose that inward drive to propel yourself forward. If you experience a setback, you are allowed to grieve, you are allowed to take a step back, and you are allowed to regroup. And when you are ready, you get back out there and you work for your goals ( Cue that viral video of the piglet dancing to Rihanna's “Work”).

Allison McLaughlin