People often report that they find it difficult to stay positive in the face of intense negativity. And though they are not wrong in facing a struggle, it is possible that they may not be approaching the negative in their lives the right way.
Let’s understand first that negativity__in people, in situations, in events__cannot be ignored. It is real. To look, as some would suggest, only at the brighter side of Life when things are on fire on another side, is to look away, to ignore the reality. No one who has ignored what is has ever been able to deal with it, forget overcoming it. Leadership is the ability to see reality and mobilize the appropriate response, taught management thinker, Noel Tichy. And I agree with him. So, when things are out of control, when everything’s broken, staying positive does not mean ignoring that reality. You can stay positive though while accepting the reality. It is when you want to wish away the negative that it insists on showing up, again and again, and terrorizing you. Instead if you accept it, and choose to stay positive despite your circumstances, you would have learnt the art of intelligent living.
The positivity in us cannot and must not be pretentious. Nothing succeeds against Life. You cannot be in the throes of a crisis and imagine it does not exist. And simply say it will all be fine soon. What happens when, after a period of time, the ‘soon’, does not happen – say after a month, a year, a decade?! Such flaky positivity, such vain optimism will evaporate at some point, leaving you devastated. Instead, first accept your situation. Understand it. Be conscious of it. Stay aware. And then look for the blessings, the abundance, the silver lining and live each day believing things will change. Until they change, recognize and appreciate, that you will have to live with the reality, whatever it is, without wishing it weren’t so. The crucial difference is that your acceptance and awareness will ensure that you stay anchored in faith. That faith will give you the patience. To be sure, your problems or your situation will not change overnight, or dramatically, but your ability to face them stands phenomenally enhanced.
Understand that it takes the dark nights along with the bright days to make up Life. Without darkness, we will never appreciate the value of light. Staying positive does not mean wishing the darkness away or hoping it doesn’t exist. It means accepting the darkness for being what it is – intense, gripping, fearful – and believing that if it is night now, a dawn will surely follow.