“Positive Vibes Only” is toxic, end of story. New age spiritualism is a mental health crisis waiting to happen and before you bite my head off, hear me out.
I was recently discharged from hospital (not Covid19 related) During my stay I was feeling a sense of defeat, frustration, loneliness, and fear. I also had moments of gratitude and a lengthy case of the giggles thanks to TikTok. On the third night of being in the hospital, I laid in bed crying whilst scrolling on social media.
“What the hell do you mean “just be happy”
Every time I am in hospital I have to work that little bit extra harder to keep myself and my thoughts in check. I can quickly find myself feeling a sense of abandonment which then leads to disappointment and resentment towards the people who I love. It is always during my most vulnerable moments that I realise that the level of love and commitment that I have for these people will never be reciprocated. My values and perspective of what family and friendship means are different from theirs. Although this is okay and I am learning to find acceptance in this, it’s a shit place to be in when you’re alone in a hospital bed and the people you love haven’t checked in on you.
And so, I laid in my hospital bed crying. Feeling sorry for both myself and my husband who was at home dealing with the kids who were probably just as bored as I was. Social media didn’t help how I was feeling and there is no escaping it. It’s either negative news or positive feeds, there is no in-between right now. I allowed myself to feel that night and I cried and I cried. I cried until I finally fell asleep.
Yes, I am thankful to have a great healthcare system who is caring for me. Yes, there will always be someone who has it worse than me, but someone doing it harder than me does not mean that my feelings are not valid. Our sorrows and feelings are not comparable and this is where social media comes into play.
During this pandemic, I am seeing many “positive vibes only” post, more than usual. Content telling you to be thankful, to just breathe and switch off any news and information from the outside world. Post about using this time to meditate, to exercise and enjoy the company of your family. Make the most of it right? COVID19 is a blessing in disguise, it’s allowing the world to slow down and appreciate the simple things in life. It’s giving us the opportunity to use this time to heal.
I agree with a lot of this. Stepping away from things that make you unhappy or that unsettle you is great. There is value in making the most of these uncertain times that we are experiencing right now and there is opportunity to heal, to enjoy the quietness, and to find gratitude in any situation. Isolation can be a time to self-heal, to practice self-care and self-love.
I preach all the time about the importance of uplifting ourselves and others. One thing I say often as you know is “if you have the ability to help someone or the opportunity to make someone smile, DO IT!” and if you follow my Instagram you will see that my content not only shares my raw truth on my hard days but also the majority of my post are positive quotes. I am all for spreading positivity, the world needs this more than ever right now!
But enforcing the positive vibes “only” concept will never be a motto of mine.
We are romanticising this pandemic, and quite frankly, this new age spiritualism and these fads that come with it is a mental health crisis waiting to happen.
If we’re going to practice true compassion and self-love, we also need to be aware of the pain, fear, and instability of this world. We can not heal without facing our demons. There is no such thing as “positive only 24/7″
I often see influencers whose feeds only ever consist of sharing the happy, filtered and “perfect” half of their lives. This is not a bad thing, but it is important to remember that you are only seeing a glimmer of their lives. A selective glimmer of only the good parts of their lives. If anyone is implying or tells you that they feel happy 24/7 then they are lying to themselves and to you. Noone’s life is perfect. We all have moments of both joyful and rough moments.
We must not fall down the rabbit hole of this trend that is used as an excuse to bypass our accountability to life. This obsession with staying positive and “positive vibes only” means we aren’t creating space for raw, complex, and real human emotion. We are closing the door on people to feel free to speak of their struggles. As though their feelings, if not positive, are not valid. New age spiritualism is silencing and shaming those who are suffering and who are alone inside of their homes during what is already hard and unfamiliar times.
Positivity is important to share but so is vulnerability.
To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable, to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength. Vulnerability equals strength! As Brené Brown says “vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change”.
Something to remember is our normal day to day busyness keeps us, well…. busy.
Our day to day lives can be an unintentional distraction for many.
The busyness of our lives has pushed aside many of our deepest feelings and kept our emotions at bay. Then all of a sudden isolation is a must and the busyness of our daily lives has been stripped away. This can be a traumatic and very confronting experience for some. Taking away daily distractions is an effective way to bring all emotions to the surface.
Some of us are families with children who have had support and help with our children from schools, family members and friends ect; families who no longer have that extra support and help due to isolation.
Some of us have lost jobs or are struggling financially due to COVID19.
Some of us are managing mental/physical illness and are no longer able to access the resources and tools that were usually implemented and used to guide us.
Many of us are grieving right now, some are grieving the loss of loved ones alone. Some of us have had to cancel special events that meant a lot to us. Some of us are hurting for our children who are missing out on vital parts of their lives. Some of us are empaths and are struggling with seeing others struggle. Some of us are scared and confused about what the future holds. Some of us are struggling with isolation more than we are expressing and some of us are already on our self-love/self-healing journey which is great!
But it’s unfair, if not arrogant and ignorant to force or assume that everyone has the ability or emotional energy right now to just have “positive vibes only”
Cry, vent, laugh, rant, scream, dance… FEEL!
Feel your shit and own your shit. Whatever you need to do to get through this time is perfectly okay. You don’t have to practice using essential oils to heal your life. You don’t need to take unnecessary supplements that “make you immune to a virus” which won’t work anyway and is far from true. You don’t need to drink your vegetables in order to be healthy. You don’t need to participate in the 10 for 10 push up challenge if you don’t feel up to it. You don’t have to do anything!
Allow yourself to feel my friend.
If meditation is your thing, then be sure to use that to your advantage. If art is your hobby, go make your damn masterpiece. And if you completely can’t be fucked doing a damn thing today, then that’s okay too! Have a Netflix day, forget about the washing/cleaning that will be there tomorrow. Damnit, eat ice cream straight from the tub for dinner if you want! And tomorrow when you wake, reassess.
Some days we will have our shit together, other days we won’t.
There will be days where we are productive and are able to shift our focus to gratitude, and then there will be days where we feel completely and utterly irritable and restricted. Take it day by day.
Now is not a time to put more pressure on yourself. Isolation may be the quietness and break that you didn’t know you needed, or it may be a time to simply survive and do whatever you need to do in order to get through whatever you’re facing. There is no right or wrong way to feel. If our governments and medical professionals are trying to wrap their heads around this crisis and are overwhelmed, then recognise that you too are allowed to feel overwhelmed. We are in uncharted waters right now, so please, give yourself permission to acknowledge what you’re feeling and know that it’s okay.
I am aware I’ll receive backlash for this post, but I stand by what I say.
Fuck “positive vibes ONLY”
One size does not fit all.
What works you may not work for someone else. Let’s respect this and allow others to feel what they need to feel, let’s support one another with however they choose to use their time through isolation, and let’s remember that it’s okay not to be okay just as it’s okay for those of us who are finding a sense of peace and bliss during isolation.
So to anyone who is doing it tough right now. I want you to know that I am here for you.
Your feelings are valid and they matter.
You don’t have to feel positive all the time. You’re allowed to feel hurt, upset, sad, irritated, grief and lost. Give yourself permission to feel and know that it’s healthy to feel and unhealthy not to but most importantly, know that
It is going to be okay.
Yesterday I was productive and healthy, today I’m eating Doritos sobbing on the bathroom floor whilst my daughter runs around naked eating ice cream before lunch and my son sits on his gaming device all day in his PJs. It’s all about balance right?
JOIN ME ON MY SOCIALS