Summer Smiles, Grad Gifts, and Great Giveaways
- May 31, 2023
There is no doubting that this is a strange time to be alive. Not only does a worldwide pandemic continue to rage and disrupt our lives, but international turmoil seems to make daily headlines continually. With 24-hour news cycles and the internet, we are bombarded by the media with an endless stream of negativity in
There is no doubting that this is a strange time to be alive. Not only does a worldwide pandemic continue to rage and disrupt our lives, but international turmoil seems to make daily headlines continually. With 24-hour news cycles and the internet, we are bombarded by the media with an endless stream of negativity in ways that were impossible just a few decades ago. We simply cannot escape bad news.
That being said, I believe most people are good and have good intentions. When someone is down, it is their nature to want to help and to offer up words of encouragement. We hear phrases such as “count your blessings,” “Be grateful for what you have,” and “you need to be positive.” Sometimes, however, no matter what someone tells you, things just suck.
Maybe someone you know has a serious health issue, or you have lost a close relative. True, working to stay positive should be a priority — and has its benefits — but viewing the world or a situation in an unrealistically happy way can be just as damaging as always being negative. Maybe sometimes we just have to be honest and say things are bad right now and that I’ll do my best to get through it.
This doesn’t mean that you should accept defeat. It just means that you are honest about the tough times you are going through, and rather than viewing the world through rose-colored glasses, you acknowledge that you are at a low point but that it will get better.
Jeremy Smith, positivity author and editor for the Greater Good Science Center magazine, writes about how the pandemic has impacted his family. In the January edition of the GGSC, he tells how his children went through a seemingly unending barrage of disappointments and that his partner, an ER doctor, faced burnout and depression, having to deal with tragedy on a daily basis. After a while, he determined that it was healthier to acknowledge that he simply wasn’t happy rather than feel bad about not being happy.
He felt that when dealing with heartbreak, struggle, and injustice, it was best to take a break and to just breathe. Also, that when things get really hard, always trying to stay positive is damaging, and that positivity can, at times, be toxic because we feel guilty for not being able to pull out of our funk. Moving forward isn’t a matter of trying harder and to get better, sometimes we need to take a step back from the stress and not think about it for a while. This isn’t to say that we should ignore our problems but rather to take a strategic break from them.
Smith writes that it can be healthy and correct to feel bad. He goes on to say that we sometimes need to “change the channel” rather than being stuck in a loop of negative thinking. This means taking a mental break and allowing yourself to get your strength back so that you can go back into the battle in a better state of mind. It’s not procrastination or blissful ignorance but, as Smith puts it, “skillfully refreshing oneself.”
This mental break will allow you to avoid feeling guilty for not being as happy as you think you should be, as this guilt will only make your current situation worse. It pays to be quiet for a moment and tell yourself that it is OK to feel defeated and down but that when you are stronger, you will overcome that which holds you down.
This won’t happen naturally, however. It will take a conscious effort to step back and regroup. Smith writes that the tricky part is to be able to take a mental break all while the people in your life need you and want to pull you in multiple directions. You have to realize that if you allow yourself to become depleted that you will be unable to care for those you love. Therefore, it is ultimately in their best interest that you take a break and use forgiveness and self-care as tools that will nourish you back to your best self and allow you to care for others.