“Good Vibes Only!” has inserted itself on shirts, hats, bumper stickers. It’s become so popular, it’s difficult to not encounter it in some form daily. It was once one of my favorite personal mantras. Now? Not so much.
I have no quibbles with the phrase, “Good vibes only!” itself. Being hopeful and knowing that there are things to be grateful for is a wonderful thing. I honestly wish more people remembered that.
However, we are in a culture of toxic positivity. Posts on social media encourage us to cut out anyone who has any sort of negative influence on our life. People proclaim, “Well, I know there’s bad in the world, but I choose to ignore it!”
This movement may seem to be kinder; in direct defiance to the long-held beliefs of “proud assholes”, who are fond of shouting: “I am who I am! I will say whatever I wish, and fuck your feelings!”
They are actually two sides of the same coin. Both mindsets encourage narrow-minded, myself-over-any-inconvenience ways of thinking.
Negative emotions are a part of who we are. It isn’t feasible to be happy all the time. We all know it, so why are so many allowing themselves to feel the pressure of acting as though everything is perfect 24/7?
It boils down to this: if you truly, deeply want to grow as a person, you cannot do it by only focusing on the good. Real inner change comes from confronting and speaking to your shadow side.
It will be hard, and it will be ugly. So why do it? Why open yourself to the darkness, when you can pretend it doesn’t exist?
Because, like it or not, you’re part of this world. And you can choose to be blind, or you can choose to learn, to be better than you were.
To be one extra light, however small and insignificant you may feel.
When you allow yourself to feel everything, I promise you, the knowledge you have changed as a person will be worth the growing pains.
You’ll see that saying you “choose to ignore the bad things” is the very definition of privilege, because so many do not have the option to ignore them.
You’ll become more comfortable with your entire range of emotions, and know how to handle yourself calmly when people upset you.
(The whole idea of cutting out people left and right is beyond ridiculous anyway. If you’re the type who would ditch a friend over one argument, you need more help than this post can offer.)
You’ll understand that the emotions of others often have little to do with you. You’ll realize that everyone is in their own heads just as much as you are in yours. This will make you better able to empathize.
You’ll know that anger itself can be righteous and good, when it comes from a place of love and a desire to protect what’s important.
You’ll realize there’s more power in someone who knows they can handle every aspect of life, cares for others, understands themselves deeply, and remains hopeful, than there is in a thousand pseudo-spiritual Instagram accounts saying “Good vibes only!”