Let’s not knock positivity, which is a frankly amazing emotional invention. Looking on the bright side of life and taking stock of what we have rather than what we don’t are great coping mechanisms in the right situation. Personally, I do it every chance I get because goodness knows I’d rather not feel miserable.
However, positivity in the wrong situations can rob us of opportunities. The last thing I want to convey here is “everything happens for a reason”, because in my view, that saying is a real kick in the teeth for people in certain situations. But “toxic positivity” is a term now for a reason, and it’s because positivity isn’t the cure-all for negative experiences and emotions.
If you’re unlucky enough to have experienced something so dark that it affected you deeply and changed you in ways that have made you more prone to protect yourself on a day-to-day basis, you’ll know there are plenty of experiences that are immune to positivity. Thinking happy thoughts, remembering things you’re happy for, and taking a walk to clear your head – these things do jack to drag us up from the depths.
The point is, some negative feelings and experiences are inevitable, and the least devastating of them often teach us something. If we choose to close our eyes, cover our ears, and start reciting positive mantras at the top of our lungs, we’re not actually going to feel any better, plus we delay coping with the situation. Not to mention, we may miss out on empowerment later on, when all is said and done, and we can look back on the experience from a different perspective.
What does this have to do with creativity? Well, I’m an author and the most impactful “eureka” moments when writing have occurred thanks to past experiences that have rated at either end of the spectrum: amazing and mind-blowing, or unforgettably depressing. But having said that, plenty of inspiration has come about from everything in between, just in less obvious ways.
Our experiences, good, bad and a combination of both, boost our creativity and give us a three-dimensional look at the world and everything in it that a vanilla life never could. Ignoring our less desirable feelings doesn’t make them go away, they are inevitable, and they are crucial to becoming better people. Not to mention, more creative!
Let’s not lie to ourselves and others in the process because feeling down, or worse, isn’t a convenient situation. We not only prevent ourselves moving past those feelings by dealing with them, but we deprive ourselves of a learning situation that might inspire something amazing later on. I cannot stress how much more important that first reason is, but for those of us that struggle to believe that trauma is not only inevitable but on some level deserved (which it isn’t), having a second, more trivial, but also more abstract reason to deal with our emotions helps.
I’ve gone deep in this post, and if you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading. This all felt like something I just had to get down, after finally shaking the habit of dismissing negative emotions. Either so I am not a burden on others, or so that I don’t have to expend the mental energy of dealing with it. It’s definitely a consequence of being an Anxious Author.
TL;DR – deal with your emotions and you might write better.
Thanks for reading! Did you know I also write urban fantasy books? Check them out here!