When Positivity is Negative
I recently read Bright-Sided, by Barbara Ehrenreich. It got me thinking.
Here in the Bay Area, we take our upbeat spirituality pretty seriously. I hear a lot of talk about The Power of Positivity. First there was The Secret, and now it’s at the point where one can’t get through a yoga class or cocktail party without having a conversation about The Law of Attraction.
In my own life, I’ve noticed that whenever I seem to be going through a rough patch, my local friends will counter my whining with advice along the lines of: “You just have to set a good intention, and abundance will follow.” (Which sounds dangerously like “Buck up!” when I’m in a certain mood.)
This sort of abundance-thinking can be encouraging and motivating. But, as Ehrenreich points out, it can also be self-defeating. There comes a point for all of us where the most healthy—and helpful—thing to do is to curl up in a ball, eat a pint of ice cream, and just bawl our eyes out. Who among us hasn’t had that cathartic experience? I have to say that I might feel deprived if I was told I’d have to go the rest of my life without having one more meltdown. As a woman, I feel entitled to my occasional bratty episodes! It’s the trade off for dealing with hormones, right?
At the very least, Bright-Sided is a great read and a good alternative view. I’m adding it to my list of recommendations.
In joy (but not always!),