Toxic Positivity

Positive vibes only.

Only do what makes you happy.

Happiness should be your number one goal.

Is anyone else tired of hearing this stuff? When I started this blog I told myself I was going to be authentic, and while I’m still not sure why I write it, I’m writing anyways. So far, I’ve written most posts when I’m having a good day because, well, that’s when the brain works. Recently, I didn’t have the best day, and while nothing “happened” to make it that way, some mornings you wake up and you know right off the bat, that you’re not in the mood, not feeling it, you don’t wanna talk to anyone and you’d rather lay in bed, eating chips and breaking the diet you’ve been trying so hard to stay on.

I wanna tell you right now, if you’re having a bad day, that can be good, it means you can still feel. You’re a real human being, living in this real world. Except you know what’s amazing about bad days? It’s when you have a good day, you appreciate it that much more. You can’t live a life of pure light, pure happiness, that’s not possible, no matter how much you want it to be. You’re gonna have more bad days, so will I, and so will that asshole on social media who pretends everything is perfect. Don’t get sucked into those positive vibes only types, these people on social media who hire professional photographers to take carefully crafted pictures of them meditating on a beach in tropical paradise that they got to in a private jet, and then reminding you to think of the environment. They’re selling you garbage, a fantasy, an illusion.

I think it’s so unbelievably toxic to have people tell you “only do what makes you happy!” I mean, in what kind of fantasy super privileged world do you live in where that’s possible? Maybe if you’re a trust fund kid with a parent on Wall Street who stole millions of dollars from honest folk, you can do whatever you want, whenever you want. But let’s be real, even those people have bad days, they just won’t show it. This isn’t about them though, this is about us. The real world. Sometimes we have to go through the shit, to get where we wanna go. That’s perseverance. Adversity makes us stronger. Before I took a single decent picture, I had to spend hours learning how to use a camera, learning how to use Lightroom. I had to spend hours learning how to DJ, how to mix manually and how to use music production software before I could make a track that could at best be mediocre. That was tedious, it wasn’t fun, but pushing through the boring part, I could finally create. When I was a teenager, I had to wake up at 5am every Saturday morning to be on the ice for goalie practice by 7am, that got me to the point where I had NHL teams scouting me, but I never liked hockey. Point is, if goals were easy to come by, everyone would have achieved them already.

I’m not gonna tell you what your number one goal should be, but “happiness” is unrealistic. You’re chasing a feeling. What may be a more interesting thought is, what can provide that feeling? I know for me, and a lot of other people, it’s purpose or meaning. When I had purpose, I was genuinely proud of myself for the first time ever. That sense of pride, that didn’t come from an inflated ego, but in a sense of doing something right, for someone else, made me happy, despite the circumstances of the situation.

So why am I writing this? Well, I’m telling you that some days will be shit, but that doesn’t mean tomorrow can’t be awesome. Light casts shadow, and sometimes you’re gonna have to walk in the dark before you can catch the rays again. I remember Jocko Willink once saying as a suggestion (not word for word), that when you wake up and you don’t wanna get your ass out of bed and do your morning run, or workout, go do it. Even if you’re just going through the motions, do it anyways. As long as you’re getting at it. The next day, you can take a break, but you might not even want to because you pushing through your bad day gave you that drive to keep going. I had a garbage workout today, but I’m glad I went anyways. Hell, I’m probably writing this post because of that, keeping it authentic, this is what I did today. Jocko always says, “Discipline equals freedom.” You may not like his military rhetoric, but he has a point.

Sometimes it’s cool to take a break, go do something else. Sometimes it’s cool to do nothing, but it may be best to leave that to the better days so you can really enjoy them, and push on through the bad ones. That builds character, you’ll thank yourself later, and well, you’ll probably be pretty happy about it too.

Funny how it all comes around in the end, isn’t it?