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  • Writer's pictureBrandilyn Hallcroft

Positivity is Crap: Embracing All Emotions for Growth and Resilience

Updated: May 12

Let’s be honest: life is a rollercoaster of ups and downs, twists and turns. Navigating these twists can be as challenging as untangling earbuds. When things get tough, the last thing anyone wants to hear is a cliché like “just be positive.” It’s about as helpful as being told to “calm down.” These phrases don’t offer real support; they brush aside your feelings.

Be Positive

I believe in having an outlook that includes knowing that tough times don’t last forever. However, I’m not a fan of the phrase “be positive.” It has become a bit toxic. It dismisses our real, valid feelings. Being human means experiencing a spectrum of emotions, including sadness, anger, frustration, and fear. These emotions are where we grow; we shouldn’t try to skip past them.


Being Positive Can Be Hurtful

Telling someone to “be positive” when facing a challenge is dismissive. Life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows; sometimes, it throws us a curveball like death, illness, job loss, or divorce. These are not easy things to deal with, and dismissing them with toxic positivity isn’t kind. If you avoid walking through the fire, you'll eventually choke on the smoke. I admire those who face the flames head-on; it takes courage, strength, and emotional maturity.


Toxic positivity also creates a barrier for the people you love. They might feel like they have nowhere to turn when life gets hard and need support. Supporting someone isn’t complicated; sometimes, it takes listening and empathizing with their situation. This might be why so many people walk around feeling angry; they don’t have the support they need when life gets tough because everyone around them pretends that everything is perfect, even though we all know it’s not.


Challenges aren’t “negative” if you look at them from the right perspective. Think about it: have you ever learned anything valuable at Disneyland? Those moments are fun and let you escape from the daily grind, but real growth happens when times are tough and you push through them. Tough times teach you how to navigate through life when the unexpected happens.


Let’s take a simple example: everyone can relate to getting a flat tire. It’s annoying, sure, but you deal with it, fix it, and get back on the road within a couple of hours. If it’s your first time dealing with it, you learn how to fix it faster the next time. You learn from the experience and grow because of it. Try to think of every situation in life as a flat tire; you’ll fix it, and once you do, you’ll be better prepared for next time.


How to truly support each other

As a community, we must be more supportive and realistic when life gets tough. We need to listen more and talk less. I love listening to people and hearing about their lives, both the good and the bad. I learn from their experiences. There have been times when someone I know went through something, and because I listened, I knew what to do when I faced a similar situation.

One way to support someone is to ask them what they need from you.

  • “Do you want my opinion on this?”

  • “Do you want advice on what to do?”

  • “Do you just need to vent and have someone listen?”

When I started asking people I cared about what they needed, I built better relationships and a stronger support system. People now turn to me more often, and I rarely feel alone. I’m still learning; sometimes, I still talk too much, but I’ve become more self-aware, and it feels great to be that person people can turn to when life gets tough.


So, let go of the pressure to “be positive.” Life isn’t always positive, and that’s okay. Appreciate and be grateful for the challenges that come your way. You’re learning, growing, and becoming a better person. You’ll get through it, and once you do, use it as a memory to navigate future challenges.


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