There is an unspoken dark side of positivity that can rob you of your ability to transform —by using surface area personal development and spiritual lingo to soothe the truth.
Wait, what —how could there be a dark side to positivity, Tommy!?!?
(We must always be positive, align our chakras, see the ‘silver lining’ in every circumstance.)
Here’s how it works:
There’s a part of our lives that isn’t working —causing emotional pain —and instead of sitting with the uncomfortable feelings and being radically honest, we say:
“I should be grateful for what I have.”
“Everything is going to work out for me.”
“When I am present, nothing is missing.”
And while those can be true in certain contexts —they can also:
Rob us of radical honesty.
Rob us of the truth deep inside.
Rob us of making a real change.
Rob us of feeling true emotions.
Rob us of crafting deep urgency.
The reality is:
Avoidance comes in all shapes, forms and sizes —and not only from crushing cold cocktails on the couch with Netflix.
(I’ve met people who use personal growth as a form of entertainment to avoid facing reality.)
And if we’re unable to get honest with ourselves:
Change will never last.
Change will never endure.
Change will never happen.
Personally, when I knew it was time to make a change in life and things were not working:
I dropped the facade.
I dropped the cute lingo.
I dropped the rationalizations.
I dropped the personal growth talk.
And I got radically honest about where I was and what I was feeling —without feeling “bad” about it.
So if you’re out there and you’ve had the sense that something is ‘off’ and not working:
Own the feelings.
Own the frustration.
Own the overwhelm.
Because the avoidance of what we feel —and our current reality —is the opposite of self-appreciation.
(‘Negative’ emotions don’t exist —it is how we respond to them, and these often are what compel us to change.)
As Todd Kashdan, professor of psychology at George Mason University —who came on the podcast has said:
There is a not so hidden prejudice against negative states, and the consequence of avoiding these states is that you inadvertently stunt your growth, maturity, adventure, and meaning and purpose in life.
Maximum growth happens at the intersection of support and challenge, of positive and negative.
Avoid the dark side of positivity.