Happiness, Healing
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Being Positive Does Not Mean Ignoring Your Pain

happy girls laughing in winter snowstorm

There is a difference between being positive and masking your pain, a difference between ‘putting on a good face’ and genuinely letting your soul dance, even in the worst of circumstances. There is a difference between hiding your emotions and setting them free, between pretending and allowing yourself to feel.

And I am here to tell you that being a person who shines with joy does not mean you have to walk around with a smile plastered to your face. It does not mean that life always goes your way. It does not mean that you’re a ‘better Christian,’ ‘stronger person,’ or that your life is ‘simpler’ in comparison to the person standing next to you. It does not mean that you don’t feel pain, or that it’s easier for you to let things go.

I am here to tell you that everyone will break, and bleed, and ache, and hurt. And being a positive person does not mean you don’t experience or feel those things. It just means you choose to continue, to find beauty and hope, to believe you will survive, and then, as a result, begin to heal in the best way you can.

Being positive doesn’t mean ignoring the pounding in your chest, the spinning in your brain. It doesn’t mean acting like you’re fine, or responding, “I’m good,” instead of the truth when someone asks how you are.

Being positive doesn’t mean you need to tire yourself being a well where everyone else dips. It doesn’t mean you constantly pour yourself out without ever being filled.

Being positive means you strive for joy, even when your world is crumbling apart. But sometimes you don’t always see it, and sometimes that journey is hard, if not impossible. Yet, you don’t give up.

You don’t act like everything’s together when it’s not. You don’t wear a mask. You don’t hide behind this façade of ‘I’m happy, everything’s good.”

You feel. You cry. You scream. You run. You talk. You ache. And then you move forward, one little step at a time. You believe you will get through, and so, each day, you do.

There is such a perception about positivity—that we must strive for it in every circumstance, that ‘being happy’ is the way to get over depression, death, anger, breakups, poor health—and that’s simply not true. You can’t always just ‘be happy’ as if it’s a switch to simply turn on. Sometimes you need support from others; sometimes you need doctors or legitimate medical assistance to pick yourself back up. Sometimes you just need to let go at your own pace—and you can’t use ‘positivity’ as this solution, or reason to rush the process.

Being a happy person does not mean you simply ignore what you feel. It doesn’t mean you pretend you’re okay when your heart is a heap in your hands, trying to act like everything is fine so that others don’t worry.

Positivity comes when you acknowledge what’s happening to you, when you let yourself feel, and then you work on choosing a happy, empowering direction—not as a ‘fix,’ but as a tool to help you heal.

And then, little by little, you do.

Featured Image Credit: Genessa Panainte

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Marisa Donnelly, M.Ed., is a writer/editor, credentialed teacher, proud bonus mama, and CEO of Be A Light Collective, a coaching and content creation business and digital marketplace. She is the Director of Donnelly’s Daily Apple, a flexible learning/tutoring and educational resource platform, and the lead voice for Momish Moments and Step by Step Parents, verticals dedicated to sharing and advocating for non-traditional parenting journeys. Marisa currently resides in San Diego, California, with her fiancé, kiddo, and their two rambunctious Pitbulls. ❤️

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