Why Honesty is More Important Than Positivity

Published on October 1, 2020 in

Earlier this week I had a call with my friend. We talk every week or so for about an hour, taking 30 minutes each to share and reflect. The purpose is to witness one another’s process and growth.

Normally I love this call, but when it showed up this week I didn’t want to do it. I was extremely annoyed, so when we got on the phone I told my friend she should go first.

“Why are you so annoyed?” she asked.

“I have been trying to fix my email signature for almost an hour without any luck.”

After hearing myself say it aloud I laughed, but I was still annoyed. My friend said she completely understood and suggested that maybe I should go first after all. I didn’t feel prepared, but something told me to say yes anyway.

As I started talking I was all over the place, so she asked if she could offer me a suggestion.

“Tell me what else you’re annoyed about in your life,” she said.

I proceeded to talk for 45 MINUTES.

As I let myself be annoyed, I began to feel all sorts of things. I felt emotions that I didn’t know were there. I felt relief that I could be so honest and didn’t need to filter myself. And I felt more relief knowing that I could just allow myself to be where I was rather than forcing myself to see the bright side, which is what I normally want to do.

Afterwards I felt infinitely better.

I also remember saying at some point during the conversation, “no wonder I get so triggered by people who choose optimism over honesty. Clearly I haven’t been very honest with myself.”

And there it was, a core principle of Spiritual Psychology: what we judge in others is always related to something going on inside of us.

Furthermore, how you feel does not need to be fixed. What it actually needs is to be expressed. And very often that IS the fix, because once you allow your energy to move it transforms.

We live in a society that tends to reject negative emotions. The byproduct of this is what some people refer to as toxic positivity. Positivity and optimism are both healthy and important traits, but this is not the case when they are used to bypass how you feel.

So be honest. Let yourself feel what you feel because the sooner you do, the sooner you will move through it. Feelings and emotions pass, just like the weather.

As a result, it’s okay to be annoyed, frustrated, sad or angry. It is also okay to be happy, joyful, excited and inspired. It’s all welcome here. Your feelings and emotions are not who you are; they are simply what make you human.

So the next time you find yourself saying something like, “it’s not so bad, at least I have a job,” or “it’s fine,” or “I’m okay, people have it way worse than I do,” ask yourself, what am I avoiding here?

And then find a safe space to let yourself transform.

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