I Hate ‘Positive People’

Time and time again I come across people who describe themselves as a ‘positive person’. Personally, I think this phrase is the root of all evil in our society, and I’ll explain why in today’s rant…

If someone is heavily invested in their identity as a self-proclaimed ‘positive person’, how will they be able to acknowledge, and therefore deal with, the truly sad things in this world? Global warming, the brutalities of war, the pain of the sick, the poor, the broken hearted. Positive people have one setting only. Sadness, depression, grief, tragedy, have no place in their lives, and they have no patience with others who are experiencing these emotions.

All the great art of the world contains at least a hint of sadness, and the best writers, painters, musicians and film-makers know this. Light and dark, birth and death, joy and sorrow: these are the building blocks of life. Indigenous and Asian cultures seem to understand these dichotomies much better: think of the yin/yang symbol in Chinese philosophy, or the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.

In Western culture we are running, running, running. We run from death, from pain, from our own selves. ‘Positive people’ don’t want to admit that we are plundering the Earth’s resources, destroying ecosystems and habitat, and presiding over the greatest extinction of species since the end of the dinosaurs. ‘Positive people’ are too busy staying positive to dwell on tragic events like the Holocaust or the war in Rwanda, and by doing so they never learn from them. And ‘positive people’ certainly don’t want to acknowledge that there is an epidemic of depression in Western society, predicted by the World Health Organisation to become the world’s second costliest health issue by 2020.

I don’t really hate ‘positive people’. Sometimes I envy them their eternally upbeat outlook on life, their refusal to be affected by the many tragedies and injustices of this world. But at the end of the day, I aspire to be a ‘positive person’ about as much as I aspire to be a citizen in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World where people are permanently safe, happy, and numbed out on the drug ‘soma’.

“And if ever, by some unlucky chance, anything unpleasant should somehow happen, why, there’s always soma to give you a holiday from the facts”

I’m all for seeing the silver lining, counting my blessings, and having my cup half full. Hope and faith are vital if we are to even get out of bed in the morning, let alone reach for great things in our lives. But please, don’t think being a ‘positive person’ is some kind of virtue, achievement, or superior state of being. Me, I’d rather feel the whole range of emotions in this crazy, beautiful, terrible, wondrous world. Not just one.

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8 Responses to I Hate ‘Positive People’

  1. vsaxena says:

    I f**king love this blog! I don’t mind positive people, but it annoys me how they get irritated at my “negativity,” which is in fact nothing more than me being REAL and friggen honest! They “have fun all the time” mentality is just insulting and, if you ask me, childish.

  2. tammy happy carter says:

    Ohhhh hum drum boo hoo . I am a self proclaimed positive thinker. And I feel sorry for ppl like u. Just because ur positive does not mean your not awere of the negative thing going on. If ur truly positive then ur quite awere of the negative in the world. U just don’t let it suck u up. U can learn to bring out the positive in the worlds many depressing and horrible situations. To bad for ppl who hate happy. What an awful life ur building for yourself.

  3. Dan says:

    Dr. Wayne Dyer said:
    “You CANNOT get sick enough to heal one person on this planet. You CANNOT get poor enough to make one person wealthy on this planet. You CANNOT get confused enough, to un-confuse one person on this planet. NO amount of your feeling bad will make one person feel good.”
    It has also been said: “Better to light one candle than to curse the darkness”.

    So, being constantly negative does nothing to right the wrongs of the world, It does nothing to heal the injustices of the world. It does absolutely nothing to help anyone. People who are constantly negative do nothing but wallow in their own misery. If you’re depressed about hunger and homelessness, why not volunteer at a homeless shelter or a food pantry, or why not help build a home for Habitat for Humanity? If you’re concerned about global warming, why not organize a carpool, use solar energy or plant a tree? If you’re worried about cruelty to animals, why not adopt a pet or volunteer at your local Humane Society? If you’re distressed over the number of distraught veterans in our country, why not visit a VA hospital and be a listening ear? If you’re disgusted about the plight of people in the third world, why not sponsor someone in a third-world country and give them a chance at a better life?

    I find that a lot of people who lament on what a horrible place the world is have little interest in doing anything to make it better. No one person can solve all the world’s ills, but we can all do something to improve our little corner of the world. The choice is ours….we can write all day about how everything sucks (which helps nobody), or we can be positive and proactive, and do what we can. You can curse the darkness all day long, and it will still be dark. Or, you can light a single candle, and there will be one more light than there was before.

  4. ann ledesma says:

    i read this entire blog saying YES YES YES to myself all through it! it truly speaks for me. keep it goin molesworth!

  5. Noise Electric says:

    And I feel sorry for people like Tammy who are so stuck on their supposed superiority of mind that they can’t fully acknowledge reality – that includes sadness, fear, sorrow, dread, uncertainty and a host of other “negative” things.
    Thanks for your input, Tammy, you’re a perfect example of the “happy idiot” type that this article describes and your spelling proves it. As much as you probably think you’re not judgmental – you are.
    “Depressing and horrible situations” don’t always have positive sides or happy endings. But obviously Tammy leads a charmed, pampered life where everything always comes up roses.
    I don’t envy people like that at all. They only turn out ignorant, judgmental, inexperienced and clueless in general. But her post proves that anyway, doesn’t it?

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