By Nomali Cele
People who know me will likely think, well, of course, you have a problem with positivity, which they are completely welcome to think. I am a pessimist somewhat and I battle with mental illness so being positive is something I have to work at. Often, I fail. I just can’t get on board with the “good vibes only” approach to things because it seems false. Nobody is good or feels good all the time and demanding they only present that
The culture has a problem with curated online personas and people only presenting a positive image. But the same culture seems to turn around, in real life and demand that people present a positivity that is put on. Some of the most prevalent, empty advice out there is for people to “think positively”. You can’t think yourself positively out of hardship or a bad spell and others expecting it of you is toxic. For some people, changing their mindset works and helps them feel better, feel more determined to change things. But this doesn’t work for everyone.
Presenting yourself as someone who’s only concerned about the positive outcomes. Or that people must only come to you when things are going well can alienate those you care about. No one wants to be the one constantly bothering you with things in which you are have stated your lack of interest.
But do you really not want to know when your people are having a hard time? Life is not perfect and it will always have a mix of the good and the bad; it’s the natural order of things. Wanting to be excluded from the bad will lead to you missing out on the full picture. You will miss out on important moments because they weren’t to your standard of “good vibes only”.
Even in parenting, experts have long preached that children should be allowed to feel the full spectrum of their feelings. A child that’s encouraged to feel their emotions, according to Psychology Today, is an empowered child. How will they learn the range of human emotion if all they hear you talk about is your “good vibes only” motto? Encouraging your child to feel their emotions also helps them to name them.
Being present and supportive within your boundaries
There’s room to acknowledge that people – even when you love them – can be taxing. It’s no use hurting your own mental health in order to be there for people. Set your boundaries. Let people you care about know that, beneath your “good vibes only” outlook you care about them and want to be there for them. Assert your boundaries. It’s one thing to support a friend who is going through a hard time and another thing to be the emotional dumping ground for a friend who refuses to recognise their bad behaviour nor change it. Someone who cares about you will respect your boundaries and protect your mental wellbeing by not triggering you.
Maybe “good vibes only” works for you, but it’s still very much a limiting approach to life and relationships. Are you great at setting boundaries with your loved ones? Tweet us your tips using #KayaOnline.