Which of the following statements have you heard before? I mean actually heard in person, directly to your face. Whence upon hearing it your first thought included some form of bodily injury; probably a big punch to their stupid face because that’s precisely where this banal, deflating, and confoundedly condescending commandment just came from.
- Just do it (thanks Nike — actually thanks to their agency W + K, a local ad agency that’s one of the world’s best)
- Stay positive (or any other iteration with the prefix word such as: be, act, or think)
- It’ll be alright (oh, really — how do you know?)
- Don’t worry (this may be the grand pooba of them all)
Dissed by the Disingenuous
Q: How infuriating is it to have someone tell you that in an instant you can and should just pick up the pieces of your miserable life and move on? It’s ‘just that easy’ is their smarmy implication.
A: It’s not only freaking infuriating; it’s the last thing you want to hear. Who are they to crash your pity party?
Moreover, how dare they sidle up to you on their high horse of personal development mastery and try to strike down your wall of misery with their simplistic, catty, and truly disingenuous (and probably unsolicited) counsel.
Old Me — Thought Process
(in response to their statements from above)
- Um, I would if I could you dumb fuck.
- Do you think I like feeling miserable?
- Do you think I enjoy having my marriage fall apart right in front of me? (or whatever part of your life is amiss)
- Do you think I want this shit?
- Do you think I don’t want to have less drama and problems in my life?
The Conundrum of the Positivity Jerks
Why do these perma-smiling, glowing aura, tippy-toe flitting to and fro assholes, with their endless and oozing positivity, spout their incessant messages of simplified condescension, to the misery-ridden in such a disdainful, un-empathetic manner?
Who am I talking about? It’s not just from the slew of well-known leaders in the self-help space. It could be from someone in your family, your spouse, or perhaps a friend. Or maybe someone from work — either a coworker or your boss. These forever positive people (from here on out called Forever Pozzos) are amassing in numbers; they’re everywhere. And they’re spewing their insincere message to precisely the wrong people.
The Forever Pozzo Categories
The Gurus (either self-proclaimed or actual as measured by name recognition, book sales, etc.)
These folks are bastions of slickness and certainly appear to always have (and likely always have had) their shit totally together. Without naming names, you know these folks — with their perky smiles, endlessly spouting little fuck nuggets of supposed wisdom. It’s not that I don’t think they’re not genuinely happy; I’m sure they are. And their message clearly resonates with some faction of people or otherwise they wouldn’t be as popular as they are. But their message very likely does not resonate, if they ever hear it at all, with people who are in such a difficult place, that if or when they do hear it, their words hit them like an assault. These gurus are like the politicians of personal growth; masters of blowing smoke.
The Movements (these may or may not have the ‘face’ of a Positivity Guru directly behind them)
Troll Facebook and you’ll see groups, with massive followings by the way, who post endless articles with titles like (these are real):
12 Rules for Being Beautifully Human (gag)
10 Gifts You Deserve to Give Yourself (cheese-fest)
6 Tips to Help You Free Yourself from Your Fearful Thoughts (eh, maybe)
5 Simple but Often Forgotten Ways to Keep a Relationship Strong (like ‘don’t be a dick’)
9 Things You Need to Stop Caring About (like this stupid article of yours)
How many fucking lists can these people rehash before they sound like broken records? They use lists because everyone else does. Because the default of the human mind generally prefers having a nice palatable recipe for how to deal with things we don’t understand. The ‘follow the road map’ approach certainly is well worn because it attracts and speaks to people. Full disclosure, I use a 4-step system called Mind Taming Training to help men pierce their perceptions. Trust me, I fought it for a while but to compete I needed to acquiesce and create such a system. Buddha help me though, for I will not succumb to the ‘7 Reasons You’re a Flaming Schmuck‘ list after list after list formula.
I feel I must also share that when I first started my business and was figuring out my voice, my brand, my tone, and my audience — I experimented with social media posts that included a few of those awful, shallow lists of how to make your life better until I realized the people who like this drivel already buy into it. They love it and reading more of it reinforces their already positively-oriented perception. This is fine. They’re happy, lovely people. Many of them are my friends and they see the world differently (read more positively) from the persistently miserable people. Oh, and it looks like I’ve settled into a voice that’s a cross between Andrew Dice Clay and Wayne Dyer.
Oh yes, these folks are legit, right? That’s for you to decide. Most of them, however, although they study the human brain, emotions, and the like with great skill, they themselves often haven’t directly experienced the change they peddle can occur if you follow their prescriptive, scientifically proven process. Many people will only believe stuff published by a person with a bunch of letters after their name, as if this somehow automatically confers truth or validity.
Answering the Conundrum of the Positivity Jerks
Back to answering the conundrum of why the Forever Pozzo’s drop their simplistic asshole-isms all day long, especially to the emotionally downtrodden — when they least want it or need it?
The answer, as far as I’ve surmised, is because the folks I’ve been blasting since I started this post, fall into one of two categories of the positivity messengers. They’re Forever Pozzos. And they are far, far away from the reformed Negative Lens people.
For the Forever Pozzos, their whole lives have been lived from a perspective that defaults to a positivity orientation. No matter the people, situations, and events they manifest or that comes their way — everything is received and processed through a positivity lens. How could they possibly understand; I mean truly, deeply, empathically; the plight of the Negative Lens people? They can’t. And that’s why the Negative Lens people have such a visceral reaction to them. The default perception void is too wide to bridge these two reality lenses. That’s where the Negative Lens Reformers like me come in.
The Plight of Negative Lens People
So the Negative Lens people, of which I’m a former member of, will continue to choose to perceive the world through a negative lens for as long as they feel it serves them. There’s only two outcomes for us.
1. Dig in over the decades and shore up our negative lens, build up our walls, keep people away from ever really connecting with us (and us to them), and maintain a constant, vigilant watch over the world-at-large, which seeks to screw us over any chance it gets — and launch preemptive strikes at will.
2. Or get to a point where we know something is not right; knowing there may be another way to experience life and really wondering, to the point of decisive action, if the Forever Pozzos are legit or not. And most importantly, if us Negative Lens people have any possibility of becoming a full-tilt (or even partial) Forever Pozzo.
Time to Come Clean With You
1. The Positivity Gurus I’m suggesting are so unempathetic, the Forever Pozzos, simply do not have any direct experience and dole out their message from the only perspective they’ve ever known. So they’re not really jerks, but they are un-empathetic and they serve as massive emotional triggers to the Negative Lens crowd. I guess you could say it’s good for them to be exposed to such positive people.
2. and………I agree with them. Gasp! Gulp! Forever Pozzo’s suggestions/messages/lists/programs packaged up in such seemingly simplistic nuggets are all based on shared knowledge consisting of elements from ancient wisdom teachings, psychology, neuroscience, and other related disciplines. It’s their pompous delivery that alienates the people who need their words of wisdom the most.
3. Yes — I often refer to myself as an ex-asshole who had the Big Insight and functionally changed the neural pathways of my brain towards a positivity lens. I know I’m far from being the first or last person to go through a personal awakening or personal transformation, or whatever you want to call it. There’s nothing particularly special about it when you think of the sheer scale of other people who this has and will happen to.
It’s All About To Whom and How the Message is Delivered
I’m making a very deliberate choice to leverage Old Me and New Me. I remember, because I lived it for decades — the chronic misery, frustration, angst, and resentment — by which I experienced the world. And I know, based on my own direct experience and those who’ve had similar experiences, a person absolutely can rewire their brain to default to a positivity lens. The outcome of which is a life where you Love More and Hurt Less™ and your relationships are a source of love and energy; not a source of resentment, anger, and resentment.
Who’s Got Your Back?
Someone Who’s Been There or Someone Who’s Always Been There?
If you’re someone who, based on what I’ve described here, is a Negative Lens default person and you are in fact wondering if the Forever Pozzos are on to something, then who would you rather connect with:
- Someone who’s gone through the transformation from a Negative Lens person to a mostly-Forever Pozzo?
- Someone who’s telling you to just be happy because that’s always been their predisposition and they know nothing of low level chronic depression?
- Someone who has reams of data to prove other people have turned their misery and suffering into inner peace but who haven’t directly experienced fear-based narcissism?
- Someone who’s resurrecting an endless loop of positive-oriented list-based articles with the same old weary images, like silhouettes of someone practicing yoga on a beach, but can’t bring up from their own memory banks decades of feeling miserable and negative?
Please excuse the gratuitous use of the list above. If you chose #1, let’s talk — or find yourself another reformed Negative Lens person that resonates with you. If you’re curious on becoming a Forever Pozzo; why go it alone?