When is a positive attitude unhealthy? Find 1 way to avoid denial and stay positive.

I’ve noticed an interesting new response on some social media platforms to the global issues currently taking centre stage. There is a denial of the extent of the issues and a suggestion that if you look for “evil” you will create it. The inference is that people commenting on these big issues are not being positive and are somehow wrong.

Is that true?

The writers of this message and similar ones are telling you to just look for the good in others and ignore messages such as Black lives matter, socially distance, and Climate Change is already here.

can positive messages be sometimes unhelpful?
Photo by Chris Henry

I saw one post claiming that 99.9% of the population are not racist. What an extraordinary claim particularly when you consider unconscious bias and cultural norms. There are conspiracy theories about the Coronavirus, Climate Change and many other topics.

 

Now you may have your own opinions about any one of these messages and I agree we are surrounded by conflicting messages some backed up by good research and some based on the opinion of a self-appointed expert. How do you decide what to believe?

 

I can’t tell you that, only you can decide.

The point I wanted to make today is that having a positive attitude is good for your well-being, yes. Make the most of your life, adapt to change and do your best to see the good in others. All of that is great for your well-being.

If, however, your positive attitude is based on looking at the world through rose-tinted glasses you are running the risk of living in denial. This risk can ultimately come back to create problems in your life.

For example, I do believe in the potential for good in others and at the same time, I do know that due to unconscious bias, limiting beliefs, low self-worth, anxiety and fear people can do bad things.

Many of the reactive messages to Black lives matter are triggered by fear and insecurity for example. I have been surprised that some people I know well have repeated these unhelpful messages. This bothers me and at the same time does not surprise me.

How can you think differently?

This is how I do it. I can sit in my garden as I am right now and enjoy the sunshine and at the same time understand that we need to address Climate Change. I am able to recognise that I can make a difference and do need to commit to specific actions. Having recognised what I need to do I can allow myself to also enjoy what life has to offer. This keeps me plugged into the world and at the same time allows me to maintain my well-being.

What can you do to keep balance in your life?

Photo by Austin Chan

Part of my personal mission going forward is that I will continue to speak my truth, I will listen to the truth of others and try to understand it. If I disagree I will say so and I might even sometimes get angry. I will continue to remind myself there are still issues in the world that need to be addressed personally and at a national level. I will continue to remind myself it is okay to find love and joy in the world.

 

What is your mission? What is important to you?

 

Melody Cheal MSc MAPP
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