01 May Positively Negative
How are you doing?
I’d like to ask you a question.
Have you ever been in a hard season of life and someone told you, to “shake it off” or “it’s not that bad,” or possibly, “Girl, God’s got your back!”? And while that’s true, it probably wasn’t what you needed to hear right in that moment.
Or were you the person that uttered these types of phrases to your friends in their hardest moments?
Has someone told you “to just be positive” or to ”count your blessings” in some fashion during this period of quarantine?
The truth is, in times of sadness and grief, people (see: us) don’t generally know what to say. I’d even take it a step further and say that people will tell you, “it’s not that bad” because your grief probably makes them uncomfortable.
Did you know that the act of forcing positivity on someone is not an effective way to help them and can have a hurtful effect if the person has come to you for support? This act is something that’s called “toxic positivity.”
The Psychology Group defines it as “the excessive and ineffective overgeneralization of a happy, optimistic state across all situations. This process results in the denial, minimization, and invalidation of the authentic human emotional experience.”
And if I could be honest, I’m struggling with the entire idea.
As a Christian, I know the Word tells us, “calleth those things which be not as though they were.” (Romans 4:17)
Which translates to most as – telling yourself that your pain doesn’t exist, but the reverse – which is victory.
But I also know that in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, our Word, says:
“To everything, there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”
So, I would argue that they both are true.
The Word clearly tells us that there is time to cry.
It tells us that there is a time mourn.
It also tells us, “to rejoice with those who rejoice and to mourn with those who mourn.”
In the dispensation of time, where there is crying and mourning, we should cry and mourn with our loved ones, except it also implies that these things are seasonal.
So, if our Word has acknowledged that there is a time to mourn and a time to cry, then our God knew that we would have these feelings. He knew that we would need to talk them out and discuss them with people.
But – he also intended for this season to past.
The problem with “toxic positivity” is that it implies that we only have one season. If we had a life of just summers, then we would miss out on every other season and life as we know it could not exist.
Women of Judah, if we had a life of just summers, then we wouldn’t need to, “calleth those things which be not as though they were”, because we wouldn’t need our faith.
Life is seasonal
Life is cyclical.
Feel all of your feels.
Cry, if you need to grieve.
Rest, if you need to renew.
Hug your people a little tighter, if you need to feel comfort.
Call or help a friend, if you need to feel or give love.
And pray a little longer or harder, if you need His power to be perfected in your weakness.
The essential part is getting from one season to the next.