last updated March 1, 2021

You don’t have to be positive

by Rob Arthur

We’re often given the impression that we have to be positive.

That we should always look on the bright side.

That we should feel good.

That we should think good thoughts.

There’s certainly value in keeping perspective.

Counting our blessings.

Keep in mind that things could be worse.

There’s benefit also, however, in acknowledging that sometimes things aren’t going how we’d like them to go.

Just as our reasons to be pleased are valid, so, too, are our reasons to be displeased.

So, too, are our reasons to want things to be different.

Our reasons for wanting change.

Often, it’s totally reasonable not to be positive.

To acknowledge that we want more.

That we want better.

What matters is what we do with any of these thoughts and feelings.

Do we ruminate over them?

Do we let them dictate our lives?

Do we let them hang over us?

Or do we act on them?

Do we use our discontent to drive change?

Do we do what we can to create the different life or world we want?

Isn’t that the purpose of thoughts and feelings often labeled as “negative”?

Aren’t they intended to signal to us that things are out of alignment?

Do they not serve this very worthy purpose?

You don’t have to be positive.

It’s okay to be sad.

To be upset.


Thinking about how things aren’t how they could or should be.

You have these thoughts and emotions for a reason.

What can you do with their messages?

What are they telling you to do?

What can you do about them?

What steps can you take to address what’s causing you to feel how you feel?

If there’s something you can do, do it.

If there’s nothing you can do, acknowledge your feelings.

Then move on.

Don’t beat yourself up for unpleasant thoughts or feelings.

They’re signals.

Nothing more.

Nothing less.

Do what you can.

That’s all you can do.

You’ve got this.


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