alt=a person feeling all emotions, positive and negative

Why "Just Be Positive" Isn’t Always Helpful

The phrase, "Just be positive," might be one of the most detrimental pieces of advice someone can receive, especially as it relates to chronic health conditions. Before you consider me a pessimist or cynic (as many would in this case), allow me to explain.

Being positive important, but there's more to it

Having a positive outlook is wonderful. It is extremely important to cultivate positivity within our lives. It's essential to have hope, especially when dealing with allergies and other chronic health conditions.

However, what's important to note about the challenges that emerge in our lives is that they must be felt and accepted. Challenges include symptoms of allergies and other chronic health conditions.

Toxic positivity

I believe positivity without acceptance and without feeling a range of emotions can cause even more suffering. It is like putting a band-aid on a gunshot wound, in a way. We can't heal internally or externally without first acknowledging the pain.

For example, when I have an allergic outbreak or a flare in symptoms, I must first acknowledge and accept that I am experiencing this. Then, I can take whatever action is needed – if any – to alleviate them and feel better.

In that process, I'm likely to have unpleasant emotions come up as well, such as anger, sadness, disappointment, etc. But that is entirely normal for someone dealing with any illness. We all have a right to feel however we feel in the moment, even if it is uncomfortable.

Judging others or ourselves for feeling these emotions and forcing positivity only creates more frustration and suffering.

Emotions have to be felt before moving forward

Emotions are not here to be ignored or blocked out. We can never heal anything by simply ignoring it or pushing it under the rug, though life would be much easier if we could. But it isn't. Life is rarely simple, and human beings are complex and emotional creatures.

We cannot heal without experiencing the range of emotions. When we feel an emotion, it is essential to observe it with no judgment attached, and allow it space to just be. Soon after, it will start to evaporate from our energy field. When emotions aren't acknowledged or are pushed away, they hang around and may even get stuck in our body, causing physical symptoms to worsen too.

Acceptance is the key

Toxic positivity bypasses this entirely and focuses on the idea that just being positive all the time and listening to positive affirmations will somehow magically heal us. Wrong.

Those emotions will continue to fester inside you until they eat you up completely or until you explode like a ticking time bomb. They will always beg to be acknowledged, and they cannot be accepted with an attempt to ignore them.

What to do when emotions get intense

So when you feel an emotion rising within you, feel it and observe it as much as possible. Sit with it. Express it safely. Once you learn this practice and use it daily, your entire life will shift. And just like emotions, our allergy symptoms, as well as symptoms of other chronic illnesses, must be acknowledged and accepted as well.

Sometimes, body sensations and symptoms that manifest are simply messengers from the body and our subconscious mind. Once we learn to listen to and acknowledge the messages, we can also start to have more peace with them and, in turn, peace with ourselves. And although this may not magically "cure" our allergies, it can help us deal with them better. As the saying goes, "what we resist persists."

All emotions are okay

When we can accept our emotions and symptoms, we can cultivate more space within us to be more at peace with our allergies and healing journey. It's okay to feel however you feel, right now, in this moment. It is okay whether it's anger, sadness, disappointment, joy, happiness, or peace. After all, we are only human.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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