Relentless Positivity

Relentless: showing or promising no abatement of severity, intensity, strength, or pace.

Positivity: the practice of being or tendency to be positive or optimistic in attitude.

Relentless positivity: showing or promising no abatement of being positive or optimistic in attitude.

Life isn’t always positive. Life on this planet can be difficult, tragic, hopeless, and sad. The consistent flow of negativity is virtually inescapable and to try to drown it out with smiles and optimism seems, at the surface, tantamount to sticking one’s head in the sand. Why face the tragedies of life, when you can pretend they don’t exist?

This dichotomy, of hopelessness and naivety being the only two options in life, is false. It is possible to live in awareness of the tragedies of life, while also retaining the joy of optimism. While those tragedies exist and the fights to end them continue, we are also faced with a world full of life, beauty, and human good. Look closely at the world around you, and you can see it.

Relentless positivity is not about ignoring the difficulties of our world. It is not about choosing ignorance for the sake of bliss. It is simply about putting more value and attention on the things that provide us with joy and optimism. This is not easy, nor does it always come naturally. It requires practice. It requires a choice.

Being an obsessive consumer of news, I am consistently faced with the reality that the world is not always a good place. Between increasing and horrific violence against our Asian-American brothers and sisters, unrelenting racism towards all minorities, voter-suppression laws, a global pandemic that has killed over half a million Americans, a heightened mental-health crisis as a result of that same pandemic, the tragic stories from Myanmar, and many more awful stories that surface daily, I feel well aware of the despair we are all justified in feeling.

The problem is that if we only feel despair, we are not equipped to do anything about it.

In the same way that panicking in a crisis does not help solve it, falling into despair about the state of the world cannot lead to solutions. As individuals, we are mostly incapable of affecting the betterment of the world at large, but what we are capable of is shining a light within our own community. Positivity is contagious, even if it is asymptomatic. In other words, while being happy and optimistic may not cheer someone up immediately, it can cause a smile, or inspire a break from whatever gloom they are experiencing, regardless of how brief it may be. This may be the smallest manifestation of what relentless positivity can lead to, but it still makes a difference.

The classic analogy of “exercising a muscle makes it stronger” can be applied to seeing the beauty of life. The more it’s done, the easier it gets. Eventually, it becomes a natural reaction. People who are seen as relentlessly positive, glass-half-full, optimistic, etc. are people who have practiced it enough to make it part of who they are.

But don’t mistake someone’s optimism for naivety. Often times, the relentlessly positive are still experiencing the struggles that life offers. Their strength, however, lies in that they are, at minimum, trying to water the tree of optimism instead of sinking in the quicksand of despair. Don’t write them off as having their head in the sand. Don’t get frustrated that they seem blind to the struggles of life. The relentlessly positive want to share their optimism with the world. Let them.

I choose to be relentlessly positive. I try to be aware of the struggles of humankind while also promoting and spotlighting the wonders of life. I choose to try to make people smile. I choose to celebrate the goodness of life as a way to ease the struggle of it. There is enough negativity and despair in our world. I simply choose, through relentless positivity, to try to lessen its power on us.

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