Having a negative thought is not wrong!
Being critical is essential.
Disagreement is necessary.
Ask yourself this the next time someone says you are being negative, “who has the problem?”.
A person who appears to be happy and cheerful, with a smile on their face and a song in their mouth may actually be deluded and blind to the current circumstances that exist around them.
I give you permission (not that I need to) to be negative. Acknowledgement of your current situation and a realistic reflection of your circumstances might just be the catalyst for change that you need or it may not. Not all situations are under your control and sometimes the situations are genuinely dire. No amount of smiling of false hope will ever change that.
“This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end — which you can never afford to lose — with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”
Stockdale did not deny his circumstances, (prisoner of war, Vietnam, 1965 – 1973), he acknowledged them, he did not lose faith although I am sure it was tested. Where others did not last he did, not by being optimistic but by being a realist. (listen to Jim Collins, author of Good to Great talk about Stockdale here)
Being told to “not be so negative” and putting on a fake smile or positive outward demeanour is just like the emperor in the tale of “the emperors new clothes”. He was convinced by people that he was fully clothed but was in fact naked.
Denying your circumstances and failing to confront them is exactly the same, you may be wearing a smile but that is all you are wearing. Negativity could be highlighting an underlying issue that needs to be addressed, suppressing it could deny the opportunity to bring about a solution.
If you are going through a difficult time or there are situations that are hard and need changing, acknowledge it, speak up, speak out, be critical, be negative.
No change ever happened to improve a situation without someone first being critical, negative or rebellious.
Will people be offended?… Yes
Will leaders like it?… No
There are times where the best course of action is to remain silent, if you are able, these are the same situations that you need to walk away from. When your personal values need to be compromised just so you can fit it to a particular group you need to question whether that group is worth being part of.
Do not ever remain in a circumstance that is causing you harm.
Do not let peer pressure and social expectations force you to wear a mask that does not reflect who you are or what you are going through.
Some circumstances are not able to be, or are not easily, fixed, for example long-term chronic illness but you can do the following… Do hold on to hope, do have faith, do acknowledge your circumstances and act accordingly.
Do not live in denial, especially to please others.
If you are struggling and need help to deal with difficult circumstances seek immediate assistance. Talk to your health provider, doctor, counsellor, or one of the many services like Youthline or Depression help-lines or mental heath workers. Look in your local phone book or contact your local citizens advice bureau for details.
New Zealand contacts
Suicide Crisis Line on
0508 82 88 65,
Lifeline on 0800 543 345 or
Youthline on 0800 376633.