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Is There A Stigma to being Positive?

December 30, 2018

What was your first reaction when you read that title? Your immediate thought? Was it a yes or a no? Well, this cuppa and a chat post was triggered by Instagram, and the reaction I saw to a little positivity. I thought I had wrote my last post of the year, (this post, Setting goals 2019) but I felt compelled to get opinions on this one. Grab your cuppa you gorgeous lot, lets chat.

I have said it before and I will say it again, I do not understand Instagram. It seems almost like people feel they have a right to act as judge and jury on anyone they feel deserves their finger pointing. Is that what people call a keyboard warrior?? I’m not sure. Although this post was triggered by a particular incident, it seems that people feeling they have the right to judge others is a common occurrence. I once got told I lived in the land of fairy dust when I put a positive spin on something on Instagram…..you can imagine my polite, but to the point response….

is there a stigma to being positive
Im saying nothing…..

So, let me tell you the background to this post, and make it clear that this post it not about the content of what the lady I follow put. It was in part, the reaction to it. It just triggered my brains thought process. Someone I follow on Instagram had posted about how she felt about approaching a new year. Her honest view, her feed, she can feel however she wants to, I have no issue with that. However, as she had replied to my comment I’d put, I popped across to read it, so had to find my comment to find the reply.

What I saw surprised me. Some of the people that were agreeing with her view, were also saying that people who approached the new year with positivity and goals, were “unrealistic” “not keeping it real” (which is my most detested phrase that I have ever heard, EVER) had a “forced positivity” and other judgemental twaddle. I was shocked. It came across like any form of positivity was a negative thing. Then, on someone else I follow post, someone mentioned that she was being “sickeningly optimistic” because she was positive about the new year. It made me ask myself whether it’s more preferable to some that people are moping about, feeling doom and gloom, dreading what life may have in store for us? Is that more acceptable? Is that easier for people to stomach? It made me feel that being positive could actually have a stigma attached to it.

is there a stigma to being positive

People are all different. How we react to things, how we deal with things, how much we chose to share on social media. Everyone is different. Now, I have not had the easiest ride in life, some situations in the past leaving me at times, on the brink of being unable to face it, but I choose to not share too much of the personal stuff on my socials, because thats my choice. I like to try to keep my social feeds positive, and I do try to always look on the bright side. Again, my choice. Its not because these things didnt happen to me, but because I will not let them define the rest of my life. My friends and family are my go to for stuff thats troubling me, I dont feel the need to spill it out to strangers on the internet, but if you do, if that gives you some kind of comfort, then thats great. Its your choice! But, the fact that people seem to have a negative opinion on people that have a positive outlook is a puzzling one. I have a theory on it, that I am going to throw into the discussion. You ready?

Misery loves company.

Thats it. That is my theory. Controversial maybe, but hear me out. I think that people like to read about other peoples troubles and misery, because in part, it makes them feel better about their own lives, and, lets be honest here, people are nosey! For some people, (not that they wish it on others in any way), they like to know that others also have a hard time. If they too are having a rough time, not feeling particularly upbeat, then they feel a validation and acceptance if someone else is writing about the miserable time they are having, especially if its a similar thing that is keeping them down. It almost gives them a free pass to feel negative. Im not in anyway saying that its wrong, each to their own, but neither is being positive wrong! Why is it that someone like me, that prefers to keep my life a little private, that prefers to count my blessings rather than my troubles, is seen as being unrealistic? It is like it is more acceptable to be a pessimist than it is to be happy! Is this the level that human kind has reached now?

is there a stigma attached to being positive

I put my thoughts on my Instagram stories, and the messages that I got told me that it seems this is a common occurrence. Others have found some backlash if they are being “too positive”. If someone puts some positivity on their feed, it dosen’t get half the attention and interaction that something negative does. How crazy is that! Im not for one minute saying that showing empathy for someone struggling is not the right thing to do, (and I received wonderful support on the rare occurrences I spoke about Nik’s cancer) it absolutely is, but why isn’t the same level of desire to comment etc given to something positive? Why do some only want to interact with the misery? We have all had/seen the comments like “I love how you keep it real” on something that is downbeat, or sharing a trouble, but if you share something positive, no such “keeping it real” comments are made. Why? Is positivity seen as fake? One girl that messaged me on Instagram even said that her work place find her annoying because she is so positive. I literally sat there shaking my head in disbelief. How can happy, (Im not talking Disney Princess, have-a-nice-day sickly sweet happiness here, that really is annoying) be found annoying. Do people not find happiness contagious? I know I do.

Life can be tough. Life can be hard. There isn’t a person in the land that hasn’t been troubled by something, been devastated by something. As shit as it is, thats life I’m afraid. No one gets a smooth run. But, do you go through life thinking that its going to never get better, or do you try to see the sunshine? I would never, ever tell someone to “cheer up” or other throw away comments, as I know for some its not a choice for them at this time. I have been in the depths of depression, I have lost some of the most precious things to me, so I can talk with absolute knowledge and experience of how that feels, but you cant let it define you. Life can be shit, but life isn’t shit. Its a beautiful thing, a precious thing, and we should be grateful every day that we are still here to enjoy it. So many, so very, very many, do not get that pleasure.

is there a stigma to being positive

My positive outlook isn’t me being unrealistic, not keeping it real or having forced positivity. Why do people see it that way? Im curious. As the well known saying goes, “Until you have walked a mile in my shoes, you cannot know me”. Don’t be so quick to judge. Some of us just try to always be positive. We are not killing puppies! Choosing to try to live life to the fullest. Choosing to find the happy as much as we can. Choosing to keep life a little private.

If I allowed myself to give in to the total sadness that some memories can overwhelm me with, then I am letting that dictate the remainder of my life. Its defining me as a victim. Its defining me as someone thats suffered catastrophic loss. Its letting my past define my future. I don’t allow that. I choose happy! That does not make me a creature from space. It does not make me a weirdo. It does not make me fake. It just makes me positive! Thats it. Nothing deeper than that!

So, tell me, what are your views on this? You can be as honest and frank as you like, you know I love discussion. Do you see people like me as not keeping it real? Do you find yourself annoyed by positive people? Have you experienced any negativity by being positive? Have you noticed that troubled posts get more interaction than positive posts? I would love to hear your experiences and views.

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13 responses to “Is There A Stigma to being Positive?”

  1. My view is that I’m as optimistic and as positive as you are. I always believe that without hope there’s nothing and I like my hopes, dreams and aspirations to be BIG. Some people would argue that we’re being unrealistic and setting ourselves up for failure, but as I see it, goals inspire us to be the best we can be. And you know what, if we were all the same, life would be boring, so I like being different – I like being a dreamer, staying happy and ALWAYS looking for that silver lining. Great post Kerry – and that’s why you and I are friends – no one should pee on our shiny, happy parade! xx

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      Hahaha! I like that, shiny happy parade That’s perfect!! I think your the same as me in that yes, we may be setting ourselves up to fail with big goals, but a goal without effort can only ever be a wish. A goal that is aimed for could become reality. I genuinely think it must be exhausting to look at life negatively, positive fills you with energy where negative just saps it! I’m staying with you my friend, unrealistic in our love of life 😂💕

  2. I saw your insta story about this I think and I’m shocked that someone was so rude! I love positivity! I like to see happy things on insta because being around happiness does spread happiness.

    I like everyone have their down days and some kind words mean so much and really pull me out of a debbie downer stage!
    Most of the time I do try to be positive and always try to turn a negative into a positive. Life is shit, so much daily stresses with work, illnesses (which sadly you’ve had first hand experience) I think we have to be positive otherwise – whats the point! I don’t get it, why wouldn’t anyone want to be happy?

    I do get that the over the top, happy happy sickly stuff which is a bit too much sometimes and can get annoying, but someone offering some nice words wtf!

    I love living in a fluffy bunny world (as Mark puts it lol) but life IS so much better when we smile and are ‘happy’. I have no idea who’s post it was or anything but I love going into the new year with positive thoughts & goals. I see it as a brand new start, a whole year that’s not been written yet. It’s almost like all the shit from the previous year can be left behind and I always like to focus on what’s coming.

    I hope I haven’t rambled on too much and hope I make sense haha. I’ve just had 4 more frosted fancies so I think I’ve got a sugar buzz haha!

    Anyway, I wish you a very Happy New Year and let’s cheers to being happy and positive and keep supporting one another! (I think some people do just like to be miserable and other people thrive on it too)

    Lot’s of Love xxxx

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      Ahhhh Heather this made me laugh so much. Frosted Fancies buzz! I love how positive you are and your posts always put a smile on my face. Thankfully, the comments were not directed at me personally, they were in response to some one else saying they were not really feeling the new year. I think some people are in such a rut with feeling disappointed in life, that it is almost a habit to feel down and a little peed iff with life. It must be exhausting.
      I wish you and Mark the happiest New Year my lovely, your life is adventure, enjoy the journey xxxxxxx

  3. Alex Grace says:

    Well said Kerry – I think you know I’m team positive 😉 Saying that I think it’s important to know when to not push positivity on to people who just want some acknowledgement and comforting of a bad situation they’re experiencing. The negative energy needs to come out somehow and like you said, that maybe privately with friends or family or publicly on social media – whatever works for the individual. However, if someone is choosing to be positive, it’s equally important they are supported in this and not berated for it. Positivity is a wonderful tool available to all – I just wish more would feel more ‘positive’ towards it!

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      I am with you 100% Alex, and think social media is amazing if it gives people someone to “talk” to or vent to. That is a good thing. It just puzzled me that positivity wasnt accepted the same way. Its almost like people are suspicious of positive people. I was discussing it with my husband, and said I wonder if it was because life is tough for people now. He laughed at this and said no, people are spoilt now as they think life should be the way they expect it to be. We had a fabulous discussion over this haha. Happy New year to you and yours lovely, so great to meet you this year and I adore your positivity xxxx

  4. I think it depends.

    I get tired of people posting as if they live in the land of unicorns – where everything is amaaaazing and every day is the BEST DAY EVER! The children always behave, there’s never a hair out of place, the housework is done by the fairies and nothing ever goes wrong. It’s dull, and it isn’t real.

    I don’t post about when I want to cry on social media or when I need a hug, but I don’t make it look as though everyday is life in a fairytale either.

    I think you’re right when you say misery likes company. I once joined a group for people with guide dogs, and called someone out for having the idea that anyone who didn’t have a guide dog was an idiot and didn’t know anything and couldn’t have a meaningful conversation with anyone who did. This delightful individual reckoned I must have had a great life with no problems to deal with. I haven’t, but I don’t condemn a whole massive section of the population for the behaviour of a few, and I soon saw that this woman and those like her would rather whinge about how tough life is than look for solutions. So I left them to it!

    I’ve had blog rants too – and I think that’s ok as long as it’s not all the time. Because like you I try to be positive. That doesn’t mean denying the feelings when you’re not positive, but at least trying to make the best of a situation or find something to learn.

    Keep the coffee and chat posts coming :))

    XX

  5. Susanne says:

    This is so sad. People like to whine and complain, and to judge others, especially on social media. Personally I think that people would react negatively and judgemental to positivity because they are jealous – they are miserable and then they want everyone else to be miserable too. And when they see someone who has a positive mindset they kind of feel “oh, I should be like this too” but there’s too much to sacrifice (=being different than most in today’s society) and then they get angry and annoyed. Same psychology as when people criticize people who do a lot of exercising/workout or eat healthy food as a habit. I’ve seen this a LOT.
    I’m not saying that this is the reason for everyone, but it definitely is very common.

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      I think there is certainly some truth in what you say here Susanne. It feels a little like people are suspicious of anyone with a positive mindset. Like they can’t believe that anyone could be like that, so it leads the “falsely positive” comments. Sadly, society has become a little jaded. Thank you for reading, and as ever, contributing your view. Always appreciated x

  6. Liz says:

    I totally agree with your post and no, you are not being unrealistic.

    I don’t do Instagram or Facebook and Twitter is just for me following impirimpo local stuff and not to be followed.my blog is where I have shared the awful, the bad, the sad, but also positive stuff.

    When I have shared positive stuff on my blog, I have received nothing but positive back. The sad, the awful etc… I have received understandings and supportive comments.

    I was quite surprised to read of your experience sharing the positive on Instagram. Their views on how they react I would take has their own. For them to comment like that, I would assume their lives are terrible in some way, or they are not feeling positive themselves.

    When I have been in a dark area of my life and see someone positive elsewhere, I could not be negative with that person and try to bring them down to the level I am feeling.

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      Hi Liz, thank you so much for stopping by! I appreciate you reading. I dont think people intend to be that way, I think that sometimes, when people are feeling low, its harder for them to share in others happy times. Its not personal, just more about them and how they are feeling. I am the same as you, seeing someone have happy times makes me feel lighter somehow, its a great thing. I always try to think that there are just circumstances that bring people to the “misery loves company” point, rather than them being a negative nelly lol. Its great to hear your view point, so thank you x

I love reading your comments x

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