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What if I’m Struggling With Being Positive?

Do you ever struggle with feeling positive? Kelly offers two helpful perspectives that have helped herself and her clients.

Hi, it's Kelly Boys here. I've been asked to answer the question: What if I'm struggling with being positive? I'm really grateful for this question and I can definitely relate to it. And this is one key place I've seen clients and students get stuck on their journey with meditation. I want to share two pointers that are helpful around this question of the struggle to be more positive. The first pointer I like to offer is that struggling with being positive is an invitation actually to look at the part of you that is struggling, rather than a sign that something is wrong or bad with the way you're being.

We like to move toward what we think will make us appear or feel better. And often on the path of meditation, it can appear that people who really get it are just positive and happy. So we move toward that too. But actually that's not the case. I'd say people who have been deep in the work of meditation actually have learned to be with their experience as it is, including the part of themselves that wants to be more positive.

So the pointer here is that real aliveness is in meeting the struggle to be different than you are. What does that struggle show you? For instance, a sense of discontentment or dissatisfaction, maybe you're feeling down or pessimistic or unhappy, and you feel like if you're positive enough, your difficult feelings will go away. And honestly, I've never seen that work because trying to be positive, just covers over these very real and valid feelings that we have, and they tend to resurface again and again, to be met, to be acknowledged. It's like if a kid comes to you and says, they feel bad and you look at the kid and say, why can't you just be more positive? They will feel shame, right? They'll feel unseen by you. So if you actually say to the kid, Oh, you feel bad.

That must be hard. And acknowledge what they're feeling, they'll often paradoxically feel more positive. They'll feel better. So the way to look at this is to meet what is here on its own terms. This is the work in the path of meditation.

Now once you do that, you're no longer fused with the sadness, the unhappiness, the discontentment, but rather you're being intimate with it in a conversation. You're being in connection with what's present rather than trying to be somewhere else. You really in listening with yourself. This is the profound work of meditation, and it's what can bring more positive feelings like contentment, wellbeing, equanimity, happiness. It's a real joy not to be in struggle against yourself, you know? And it's incredible how much tension can release and how much happiness can appear in the dropping of the struggle.

The second pointer is that sometimes it's true, we actually could use a little more perspective and gratefulness to bring in a sense of positivity because the negativity bias in our brain helps us look for threat, look for difficulty, and we can end up obsessing on what is wrong or bad in our lives. So think of a time that you spoke in public or had to give a presentation to colleagues, or you need to give a response about something important to your family. Did you focus on how great it was going to go or did your negativity bias come into play? You know, the negativity bias helps us scan for all the ways something can go wrong, basically. And then we can obsessively focus on the negative as we try to prepare for this presentation or response to our family, mapping out all of these catastrophic scenarios. So it's true.

Sometimes we can get stuck in a loop in our minds. You know, even if we don't have an event that's going to put us on the spot, we still can get stuck in this kind of negativity bias loop, where we're not feeling very positive. And one way to counteract this brain wiring is to widen your perspective and consider the whole of your life. So this one moment where you're struggling to be more positive is one moment within a series of moments that is called your life. And if you close your eyes for a moment, maybe take a deep breath, exhale, and then open your eyes again, looking around you, look as if you have new eyes.

And perhaps name two things that you're grateful for. Something simple, like the sunshine or a cold drink in your hand. And let this larger perspective run the show for this moment, rather than this kind of prehistoric brain wiring that we have with the negativity bias. And then, you know, live your whole day in this way, your whole week in this way, and see what happens. Thank you for your practice.

And I wish you well, as you look at this topic, remember today to be gentle and see the beauty around you. And most importantly, be kind to yourself.

Talk

4.6

What if I’m Struggling With Being Positive?

Do you ever struggle with feeling positive? Kelly offers two helpful perspectives that have helped herself and her clients.

Duration

Your default time is based on your progress and is changed automatically as you practice.

Hi, it's Kelly Boys here. I've been asked to answer the question: What if I'm struggling with being positive? I'm really grateful for this question and I can definitely relate to it. And this is one key place I've seen clients and students get stuck on their journey with meditation. I want to share two pointers that are helpful around this question of the struggle to be more positive. The first pointer I like to offer is that struggling with being positive is an invitation actually to look at the part of you that is struggling, rather than a sign that something is wrong or bad with the way you're being.

We like to move toward what we think will make us appear or feel better. And often on the path of meditation, it can appear that people who really get it are just positive and happy. So we move toward that too. But actually that's not the case. I'd say people who have been deep in the work of meditation actually have learned to be with their experience as it is, including the part of themselves that wants to be more positive.

So the pointer here is that real aliveness is in meeting the struggle to be different than you are. What does that struggle show you? For instance, a sense of discontentment or dissatisfaction, maybe you're feeling down or pessimistic or unhappy, and you feel like if you're positive enough, your difficult feelings will go away. And honestly, I've never seen that work because trying to be positive, just covers over these very real and valid feelings that we have, and they tend to resurface again and again, to be met, to be acknowledged. It's like if a kid comes to you and says, they feel bad and you look at the kid and say, why can't you just be more positive? They will feel shame, right? They'll feel unseen by you. So if you actually say to the kid, Oh, you feel bad.

That must be hard. And acknowledge what they're feeling, they'll often paradoxically feel more positive. They'll feel better. So the way to look at this is to meet what is here on its own terms. This is the work in the path of meditation.

Now once you do that, you're no longer fused with the sadness, the unhappiness, the discontentment, but rather you're being intimate with it in a conversation. You're being in connection with what's present rather than trying to be somewhere else. You really in listening with yourself. This is the profound work of meditation, and it's what can bring more positive feelings like contentment, wellbeing, equanimity, happiness. It's a real joy not to be in struggle against yourself, you know? And it's incredible how much tension can release and how much happiness can appear in the dropping of the struggle.

The second pointer is that sometimes it's true, we actually could use a little more perspective and gratefulness to bring in a sense of positivity because the negativity bias in our brain helps us look for threat, look for difficulty, and we can end up obsessing on what is wrong or bad in our lives. So think of a time that you spoke in public or had to give a presentation to colleagues, or you need to give a response about something important to your family. Did you focus on how great it was going to go or did your negativity bias come into play? You know, the negativity bias helps us scan for all the ways something can go wrong, basically. And then we can obsessively focus on the negative as we try to prepare for this presentation or response to our family, mapping out all of these catastrophic scenarios. So it's true.

Sometimes we can get stuck in a loop in our minds. You know, even if we don't have an event that's going to put us on the spot, we still can get stuck in this kind of negativity bias loop, where we're not feeling very positive. And one way to counteract this brain wiring is to widen your perspective and consider the whole of your life. So this one moment where you're struggling to be more positive is one moment within a series of moments that is called your life. And if you close your eyes for a moment, maybe take a deep breath, exhale, and then open your eyes again, looking around you, look as if you have new eyes.

And perhaps name two things that you're grateful for. Something simple, like the sunshine or a cold drink in your hand. And let this larger perspective run the show for this moment, rather than this kind of prehistoric brain wiring that we have with the negativity bias. And then, you know, live your whole day in this way, your whole week in this way, and see what happens. Thank you for your practice.

And I wish you well, as you look at this topic, remember today to be gentle and see the beauty around you. And most importantly, be kind to yourself.

Talk

4.6

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