“Hey everyone! Stop moping. Yes, I know your sporting events, social gatherings and concerts have been cancelled for a few weeks. The world has NOT ended, commerce is still happening, work is still happening and you have a beautiful opportunity to do some of those strategic career improvements that you’ve been meaning to get to. Only now you don’t have an excuse – so let’s get to it!”
This is a direct quote from a mass email I received from a local recruiting firm. Wow. Just…wow.
A few days ago, I recorded the video below discussing the dangers of positivity bypass.
Many thanks to this rather thoughtless recruiter for offering me more grist for the mill. I responded to her email offering an unsolicited education around this dangerous minimization of human emotion and highlighting the “positivity bypassing”. (I confess my first draft was “What the actual fuck?”. I decided that wasn’t going to be the most effective way to convey a point, so I revised accordingly.)
It isn’t moping to feel sad that life as we knew it has altered, rather dramatically.
It is very normal to grieve “what was”. It’s very normal to feel sad that things you had planned aren’t happening now. It’s okay to grieve this massive shift in our lives, while still finding the gratitude.
The key that this email I quoted is missing is honoring the fact that it’s OKAY to grieve. It’s OKAY to feel fear. It’s OKAY to feel the uncertainty. It’s OKAY. It’s all OKAY. IT IS FUCKING OKAY TO FEEL THE FEELS.
We don’t want to stay stuck in grief, fear, or anxiety. That’s when we get into disempowered states that spiral us into depression and negativity.
But it needs to happen in this order:
Let me say this very, very plainly:
Positive mindset MATTERS. It MATTERS. It is vitally important for our health and wellbeing to develop and strengthen our mindset. It is equally vital to resource ourselves through adversity by developing grit.
We cannot, should not, and must not go directly to positivity bypassing without HONORING THE VERY REAL SHIT IN OUR LIVES.
We cannot, should not, and must not diminish hurt, grief, pain, or any other emotion.
We must acknowledge all the feelings and allow ourselves to feel what we feel, in order to move through those feelings into the next phase which is empowerment, positive mindset, and inspired action.
This holds true in the midst of a global pandemic as much as it did before this began.
It is okay to grieve. It is okay to feel allllll the fucking feels.
Read that again.
I am seeing entirely too many messages lately that we need to use every spare minute right now to “be productive”.
Yes, if it helps you to find productive tasks right now, great.
But guess what? If you are feeling bowled over by grief and uncertainty, it’s okay if you AREN’T productive today. It’s okay if you give yourself space to cry and process the feelings.
No, we can’t lie down and give up.
But we also can’t continue to perpetuate this bullshit culture of busyness as a bypass for feeling and processing real emotions.
Consider this permission to feel the feels.
Consider this permission to grieve that our lives have changed dramatically.
Consider this permission to not be productive every single minute of every single day.
Consider this permission to be human, today and every.fucking.day.