Pollyannaism

Pollyannas. No one wants undue cynicism in their lives. But equally vexing are those insisting to the point of madness that all things be painted in the most positive light.

Or that if you are experiencing any manner of ill luck, bad experience, or irksome environment, that you should self-censor or desist from expressing it. As if the expression of same is itself infectious.

This post isn’t intended to point a finger at anyone, nor single out any particular line of positive thinking. Rather, it is to contrast the need for positivity against the increasingly sophisticated madness to lessen the output of people who have valid complaints, interesting criticism or words not powered by the blissful lightness of being. There are broken shards of darkness in the world, just as there are beacons of light and hope. Both have their uses in the world and both need room for expression. We don’t need to feed our demons or nightmares- but repression is no less a horrible response.

One person’s complaint is another person’s call to action.

Oliver Burkeman noted in “The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking,” “Ceaseless optimism about the future only makes for a greater shock when things go wrong; by fighting to maintain only positive beliefs about the future, the positive thinker ends up being less prepared, and more acutely distressed, when things eventually happen that he can’t persuade himself to believe are good.”

(“Your excessive optimism and insistence that everyone and everything be happy and ecstatic is annoying me.”)