Often times, I have heard complaints from those who try to be positive, but end up feeling hopeless when it never works out. I have been guilty of doing this in the past, but I looked deeper into how I was presenting being positive. I have also talked to my therapist about why I feel like being positive hasn't been effective for me. Here are the top three lessons and tools that I have learned and utilized.
1. Being positive doesn't mean ridding of all negative emotion.
This was something I struggled the most with. I thought being positive meant that I wouldn't feel sadness, jealousy, anger, emotional tiredness, frustration, or any other negative emotion. It is actually quite the opposite. Positivity means letting yourself feel these negative emotions, but instead of letting them debilitate you, you understand that they are a cathartic release in order for you to reach the positive emotions that you seek. It's not about what you're feeling, it's about how you deal with what you are feeling. If you don't allow yourself to feel negative emotions when they arise, then you will bottle them up over time and eventually erupt into an emotional breakdown.
2. Practicing what you preach is essential.
If you are giving others advice on how to stay positive, but you aren't following the same rules that you are preaching then you are being inauthentic. This means that your positivity is fraudulent and transparent. People will see right through your "words of wisdom" and will not take you seriously if you are not taking yourself seriously. There have been times where I wanted everyone else around me to be happy even when I wasn't, so I put up a positive facade. At first, my friends valued my advice, but over time they did not believe I was credible because they saw, firsthand, that I was not practicing what I was preaching to them.
3. You can post on social media all you want, but you must also be positive in real life.
I am constantly posting positive tweets, quotes, and poems on my Instagram stories in hopes that they will resonate with my followers. Before I add them to my story, though, I ask myself, "Is this something that I follow?" or "Do I relate to this?" If the answer to either of these questions were to be no, I would refrain from posting them.
Far too many times, I have seen a close friend of mine post a quote that she does not live by. It is hypocritical and adds to the inauthentic nature of social media. When you spread positivity through Instagram, make sure that you are promoting messages that you actually believe in, not just messages that you think people want to hear.