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What if I’m Struggling With Being Positive?

Kelly Boys






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What if I’m Struggling With Being Positive?

Do you ever struggle with feeling positive? Kelly offers two helpful perspectives that have helped herself and her clients.

Hi, it's Kelly Boys here.

I've been asked to answer

the question: What if I'm

struggling with being positive?

I'm really grateful for this question

and I can definitely relate to it.

And this is one key place I've

seen clients and students get stuck

on their journey with meditation.

I want to share two pointers that

are helpful around this question of

the struggle to be more positive.

The first pointer I like to offer is

that struggling with being positive

is an invitation actually to look at

the part of you that is struggling,

rather than a sign that something is

wrong or bad with the way you're being.

We like to move toward what we think

will make us appear or feel better.

And often on the path of meditation,

it can appear that people who really

get it are just positive and happy.

So we move toward that too.

But actually that's not the case.

I'd say people who have been deep in

the work of meditation actually have

learned to be with their experience as

it is, including the part of themselves

that wants to be more positive.

So the pointer here is that real

aliveness is in meeting the struggle

to be different than you are.

What does that struggle show you?

For instance, a sense of discontentment

or dissatisfaction, maybe you're feeling

down or pessimistic or unhappy, and you

feel like if you're positive enough,

your difficult feelings will go away.

And honestly, I've never seen that

work because trying to be positive,

just covers over these very real

and valid feelings that we have,

and they tend to resurface again and

again, to be met, to be acknowledged.

It's like if a kid comes to you and says,

they feel bad and you look at the kid and

say, why can't you just be more positive?

They will feel shame, right?

They'll feel unseen by you.

So if you actually say to

the kid, Oh, you feel bad.

That must be hard.

And acknowledge what they're

feeling, they'll often

paradoxically feel more positive.

They'll feel better.

So the way to look at this is to

meet what is here on its own terms.

This is the work in

the path of meditation.

Now once you do that, you're no longer

fused with the sadness, the unhappiness,

the discontentment, but rather you're

being intimate with it in a conversation.

You're being in connection

with what's present rather than

trying to be somewhere else.

You really in listening with yourself.

This is the profound work of

meditation, and it's what can bring

more positive feelings like contentment,

wellbeing, equanimity, happiness.

It's a real joy not to be in

struggle against yourself, you know?

And it's incredible how much tension

can release and how much happiness can

appear in the dropping of the struggle.

The second pointer is that sometimes

it's true, we actually could use a

little more perspective and gratefulness

to bring in a sense of positivity

because the negativity bias in our

brain helps us look for threat, look for

difficulty, and we can end up obsessing

on what is wrong or bad in our lives.

So think of a time that you spoke in

public or had to give a presentation to

colleagues, or you need to give a response

about something important to your family.

Did you focus on how great it

was going to go or did your

negativity bias come into play?

You know, the negativity bias

helps us scan for all the ways

something can go wrong, basically.

And then we can obsessively focus

on the negative as we try to prepare

for this presentation or response

to our family, mapping out all

of these catastrophic scenarios.

So it's true.

Sometimes we can get stuck

in a loop in our minds.

You know, even if we don't have an

event that's going to put us on the

spot, we still can get stuck in this

kind of negativity bias loop, where

we're not feeling very positive.

And one way to counteract this brain

wiring is to widen your perspective

and consider the whole of your life.

So this one moment where you're

struggling to be more positive

is one moment within a series of

moments that is called your life.

And if you close your eyes for a moment,

maybe take a deep breath, exhale, and

then open your eyes again, looking

around you, look as if you have new eyes.

And perhaps name two things

that you're grateful for.

Something simple, like the sunshine

or a cold drink in your hand.

And let this larger perspective run

the show for this moment, rather than

this kind of prehistoric brain wiring

that we have with the negativity bias.

And then, you know, live your whole

day in this way, your whole week

in this way, and see what happens.

Thank you for your practice.

And I wish you well, as you look

at this topic, remember today to be

gentle and see the beauty around you.

And most importantly, be kind to yourself.

Included in

Q&A on Emotional Resilience null Playlist · 5 tracks

Q&A on Emotional Resilience

Playlist · 5 tracks4.9

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