I saw something yesterday, a sassy little note against uber positive people. It was snarky, but honest, saying that you can’t just be a robot, always talking about how life is amazing and how there’s so much to be thankful for because that’s not real and makes you fake. And for some reason, that little note hit me. I felt like it was talking about me…but in a bad way.
I try to be a positive person. I’ve always lived my life that way, seeing the glass half-full, mistakes as opportunities, and pain always having a purpose, even if I wasn’t sure what that purpose was from the start. I like to talk about my faith. I like to point out the happiness all around me. I like to recognize what I’m thankful for, whether I’m in a good place or not. I’ve always felt that positivity is what this world needs, and can never truly have enough of.
I never thought that I could be too much, or come off as superficial.
That little quote got me thinking. For a second, it made me question myself—Am I being this ‘#blessed’ robot, only talking about how great life is and not being truly real? Am I acting like this fake, phony person, not acknowledging my pain, or the pain of people around me?—I thought hard about it, I honestly did. But as much as this note made me question myself, I don’t agree.
It’s important to acknowledge that life is hard, but that doesn’t have to be our focus.
Here’s the honest-to-God truth about our human existence: it freaking sucks sometimes. It sucks to be a human. We’re emotional beings that get caught up in entanglements with people that aren’t always 50-50. We have imaginations that run wild, but physical bodies that can’t keep up. We are similar enough to cause jealously, but different enough to cause disagreements. We are impermanent on this earth, and forever losing people we love. And we hurt. Yes, we hurt and get hurt so much.
And there are so many days when we’ll be completely buried in pain. We’ll lose our strength, our hope, our footing. We’ll just want to call it quits. I’ll be the first to admit that my life has been really tough at times. None of our lives have been perfect, or ever will be. And if I’m being really honest, there’s been days when I haven’t wanted to live—I think we’ve all been there, whether clinically depressed or just going through some hard sh*t—there are times when we lose a sense of who we are and what this world has to offer. We’ve stared our destiny in the face and wished ourselves away. And that sucks.
Life isn’t easy, that’s for damn sure.
But we were never promised easy. And as a person who tries to focus on the positive, I can’t pretend that life’s a cakewalk. It’s not. And I don’t. I fully acknowledge that life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. We’re going to get hurt, we’re going to have broken hearts, we’re going to feel lonely as hell, we’re going to lose loved ones, we’re going to struggle, we’re going to wander from our faith, we’re going to wish we were someone or somewhere else.
But I guess the way I’ve always seen this darkness is that it has a flipside, an opposition, an end.
You cannot have darkness without light, which means for every dark spot in your life, there will be something bright and beautiful. Because life cannot be dark forever, a light will eventually turn on.
For every negative, there is a positive. Life works in a cycle like that, with every bad channeling into good, if you choose to see it that way.
The sh*t in your life? It won’t last forever. The aching pain in your bones? It won’t always feel so fresh. The loss you feel in the depths of your heart? It will fade and channel itself into something new. If you allow it to. That’s the beauty of life.
There is hope and happiness. If you believe in it.
I realize that I only exist in my little life bubble and can’t possibly have experienced the pain of everyone around me. But I still firmly believe in the good. Losing a loved one can give you strength and independence you never thought possible, or never would have had with them guiding your life. Getting your heart broken into a million pieces can teach you what you deserve. Failing at something you’re passionate about can show you a new direction in life. Getting into a career-ending accident can give your life new purpose. Losing everything can help you find who you are.
Bad can become good, depending on how you choose to see it.
And no, that doesn’t invalidate your pain or suffering, because that is real and it hurts. No, looking at the bright side isn’t the fix-all answer to every hurt you go through. And no, being positive doesn’t mean life is butterflies and fluffy clouds and rays of sun all the time.
Life is incredibly hard and frustrating and defeating, but it’s also so good.
And honestly, we cannot let darkness define us.
And I cannot let your darkness destroy me. I won’t.
I cannot let that note make me change the person I am and the way I see the world. See, I think we have a choice. We have a choice every single day to either kick life in the a$$ or to let it walk all over us. We have a choice to let our bitterness, our anxieties, our fears, our failures drag us down (within reason, of course, because obviously people struggling with clinical issues will need resources outside of their own minds, and that’s perfectly okay and doesn’t make you any less strong) or we can choose to let go and rise.
And we have the choice of how we want to see the world and what we want to focus on.
And I will choose the good. I will choose the sunshine. I will choose the happiness.
Because I am more than my struggles and pain; I am more than what has happened to me; I am more than the things that have gone wrong and the ways I have failed.
I will be light, and I will not be destroyed.