A conversation with my brother made me think, “Is negativity and violence the only real honesty?”
No one who is feeling happy and positive ever decides to play miserable and negative. I don’t think, “You know I’m having a great day, but I don’t want to bother people with it, so I’ll share a few negative vibes out into the world.” But we do the opposite all the time.
No one who is loving and kind decides to act out in violence and suddenly smack the person they love most just to make sure they’re paying attention. But we often feel angry and violent toward some people and decide not to act on that feeling, lay low, and fake kindness for awhile so they don’t know how pissed we are.
When you hear or see someone’s negative feelings, they are always honest. When you hear someone’s positivity and light, they could very well be hiding some nasty thoughts with pretty colors.
Why is that? What’s going on there?
This thought led me to remember a post I saw on Instagram awhile back about how unhealthy it is to ignore dark thoughts and feelings, the “highlight reel” of social media. There’s also a trend in the online world to bombard the ugly, dark parts of the internet with love and light. I’ve felt the pull to share only the positives myself. Why add to the shitty mood and post my ugly thoughts right now? I’ll just keep that part to myself.
But you know what? Fuck it. Not sharing the negativity you feel is just lying in the form of omission. My negatives are a part of who I am. They are not bad, they’re just feelings and they’ll pass, just like the positive feelings will.
I was having lunch with a friend and he mentioned something I had shared, a post or a picture, I can’t remember, but the gist was “Don’t share that. It doesn’t make you look good.” I changed the subject, but on the way home I started to think about it again.
I don’t think I post anything to make me look good or bad. I share who I am, what makes me happy, sad, irritated, and enlightened. I want to post my pretty new shirt and my ugly dirty feet. Yes, I’m having a shot of whisky on ice because people suck and I’m mad at the world! AND I know those people don’t mean to suck and tomorrow will be a brighter day.
What you see here on my blog, on my Facebook profile, or my Instagram feed, is me. And that me is the same me you would find over a beer or a cup of coffee, on a hiking trail, or in a bookstore. To some extent anyway. Everyone tries to filter themselves so they don’t offend, but we shouldn’t be doing it so much that we are a totally different person face to face. We all have bad moods and moments of angst. We shouldn’t be afraid to show our negativity to the world. At least, “that’s…like…my opinion, man.”
I’m thinking of those selfie filters that make you look like 20-year-old sex goddess, but really your hair is graying, wrinkles are showing around your eyes, and you’ve gained twenty pounds this year. It’s a lie and nothing is uglier than a lie.
More and more the past few years, I have found myself filtering my image. That picture makes me look old. That post makes me look angry. That quote might be taken the wrong way. Why? Fear, I guess. I want to be liked by as many people as possible. And I don’t take criticism well at all. It’s something I’m really trying to work on.
This morning, after I found an awesome article on Tiny Buddha about It’s Not All Love and Light, which you should go read after you read the rest of this, I found another article there that spoke to my soul. It was about not taking things personally. I think I’ll print both these articles and read them over and over again.
Man, if I could have a superpower, it would be the ability to read something once and incorporate it into practice at will. That same piece of me that allows me to stop hating your guts ten minutes after losing my mind completely, also allows useful information about behaving better slip through my fingers as soon as the page is turned, or the book is closed. It’s frustrating. You’d think I’d better at living in the moment, but no.
In closing…man, that sounds corny…
If we go around pretending the sun shines nice and warm 24/7, when it starts to set, we’ll freak out. Instead of enjoying the last rays of sunlight before turning in to spend the dark hours resting and getting ready for the next day, we’ll wear ourselves out in panic, the night terrors will consume us and the next day won’t seem bright at all.
All of life comes in cycles, negativity is just one of part of that cycle. We need to embrace them, use them to our advantage, not push them away and hide them under the rug. I have always been terrible at maintaining this so-called “balance,” but I’m starting to learn. Better late than never, right?
Side note: While searching for the perfect picture for this article, the keyword “negativity” had four photos and the keyword “positivity” had hundreds. That’s exactly the lack of balance that I’m talking about.