The other problem with toxic positivity
Updated: Jun 29, 2021
There has been so much written recently about toxic positivity...about spiritual bypass, ignoring world problems, ignoring complicated feelings and situations...about wanting to merely ‘feel better’ about yourself as opposed to actually doing the hard work of a spiritual practice. The ‘love, light & a high-speed-fast-train ticket to destination wellness’ kind of lifestyle is huge and problematic.
And it is really important to shine a light on it...because that criticism is 100% valid.
But the problem can be that if you, like me already have an intimately forged relationship with your dark side, then hearing repeatedly that 'positivity is toxic' might be further compounding your already deeply rooted belief that positivity is DANGEROUS AND SCARY.
(and is it maybe also a small truth that criticism oftentimes misses the person/group of people it was directed at and lands squarely in the lap of one who already self criticises enough?)
Because fear of positivity is very much my lived experience.
It’s part superstition - if I feel too positive something bad is def going to happen - I will have 'jinxed' it.
Part fear of disappointment - it’s easy to stay negative than to ride the ups and downs.
Part fear of looking foolish - after all everyone else knew it would never come to pass.
Part shame - am I greedy for wanting the good stuff?
In the shit show of a world we are living in today feeling positive also makes me feel naive, gullible, hopelessly optimistic, silly and selfish.
So...it is really important to me to remember that feeling happy & joyous is my right AND my original nature. That wanting things; good health for me and my family, pleasure, a long life, a holiday, a nice car, a healthy bank balance, to live somewhere delightful, to be well fed and successful is also ok...that these are all things that the teachers of the Upanishads held in high esteem.
No self effacing or fearful attitudes needed.
When we prosper...the world prospers with us.
As it states in the Taittirya Upanisad
Essence of the Vedas, revealed in the Wedas, revealed in the world, spung from immortality! Lord, fill me with intelligence, that I may grasp immortality!
Make my body strong, my tongue sweet, my ears keen. You are the Spirit's armour, hidden by sensuality. Keep me from forgetting.
May spiritual riches come of their own will. May they increase, then send me Spirit itself. May I never lack clothes, cows, food, drink, that I may serve you the better. May pupils come, may pupils gather round, may pupils listen, that I may serve you better. May they in peace, control mind and sense, that they may serve you better.
May I become famous, may I become richer than the richest, that I may serve you the better.
Lord! may I enter into you, may you enter into me! may I merge into your your thousands of shapes, for my purification.
As water flows downward, as months mingle with the year, Guardian! may pupils come from everywhere, that I may serve you the better.
You are the Fold. Take me. Enlighten me."
So this is for me, and if you are like me, for you...
it’s ok to have goals and dreams
it’s ok to want things
its ok to try and get them
its ok to think one day you will achieve them