Why Toxic Positivity Is Not the Animist Way
Everyone wants a good, healthy, positive life. When we look around at everyone’s highlight reel on social media, it can seem like everyone has that except us. When the law of attraction says that our outside is a reflection of our inside, we can believe that our struggle comes from not being positive enough.
Perhaps this is why we see some people who say, “Don’t bring that negativity around me!” Nobody wants to be around a downer.
The elephant in the room that no one talks about is that positivity can be toxic too. 24/7 high energy and excitement is not natural. It’s not the animist way because nowhere in nature do things only go up. Nowhere in nature does the sun shine all the time. What goes up must come down and night always follows day. And people are sometimes down and dark too.
Denying your fatigue, anger, jealousy, disappointment, or sadness doesn’t make it go away. It represses it. It shoves it underground. You can’t have authentic relationships when people don’t get to see the real you. Your fragility, confusion, and guilt are part of what makes you unique too.
Most of us know someone who committed suicide and the general reaction was surprise. Everyone around them said they had no idea there was any problem. When we don’t give people room to share or feel what they feel, the situation may become desperate. If they are hiding, it’s because they don’t feel it’s not okay to be not okay. It may get to the point where they feel there is no way out.
This is why at Pan Society we say, “Screw that! Let your freak flag fly! Do you.” It’s not only okay to be down sometimes, it’s natural. It’s normal. Sometimes we’re up, and sometimes we’re down. We don’t have to stay there, and sometimes our disappointments fuel our passion so that we discover something new, change directions, or do something big. So our “downs” are normal and useful.
Use these down times to rest, reflect, feel, and be supported. There is value in taking a chill pill.
Don’t forget that life isn’t about being the most beautiful, the happiest, richest, or most exciting person in the world. Your best life might be about watching the river roll by or picnicking with your family. After all, it’s the little things that make it all worth while. And without that, of what use is the big things?
You’re okay as you are. There are all kinds of people and all kinds of paths. If you let yourself be yourself, you will be right where you need to be.