If you’ve been following me on social media or on my blog, you always see me smiling. Even if you’re new to my page, you can go back and see lots of what you would see as happy pictures. If you went on my personal social media, you could go back to my first photo from years ago, and all you see is me smiling.
But I am going to be real with all of you. A picture only shows so much. You scroll through my feed, you see me smiling over and over and rightfully so, you assume I am always a positive person. But the truth is, for years, I hid behind my smile. On the outside, I looked happy, I looked put together, but on the inside, I felt empty and I felt like I was falling apart.
That smile became my mask because I was fearful of being seen as anything less than perfect.
I still try to use my smile as much as possible, but I try my best to not hide behind it. I will be the first to admit that I still struggle, I still have a lot of hard days, and some days I can be frustrated with myself when I am negative and can’t see anything positive.
But the other day, I read about how we are wired to be negative. I always knew that society conditions us to be negative, but it was interesting to read that we are wired to focus on the negative because we needed to focus on the negative to keep us safe. If we are in a field of beautiful flowers, but then we notice a bear within walking distance, we are going to focus on the negative threat and not the positive flowers, because our fight or flight instinct kicks in. We have legitimately been wired to focus on the negative things in our life to keep us alive. So it makes sense that when something bad happens, even if everything else is going well, we focus on that bad moment and completely shut out the positive.
So why do we get frustrated with ourselves when we are negative and can’t see the positive, when being negative is inherently part of who we are? It is likely because you see people on social media who look happy and perfect all the time and we somehow feel like we have fallen short, that we are not good enough and that we are failing at perfection.
I want you all to remember that there can be so much more behind someone’s smile and there is so much more behind someone’s social media account. It is important to only follow those pages that make you feel good, those pages that bring positive vibes and smiles but also remain authentic and upfront about life’s struggles. You never know what someone is battling with that they are not showing to the world. So be kind to other people and be kind to yourself. Be patient with yourself. If you are striving to be positive, know you have to work past years of negative hard wiring in our brains, so if there are some days that you are negative, forgive yourself and keep trying.
The truth is, we all struggle with negativity, we all struggle with inadequacy, some of us more than others, but we all struggle. When we recognize that we aren’t alone in this journey, we can be a bit more compassionate with ourselves.
Being positive with yourself will be a life-long journey. But it is comforting to read that we have been wired to be negative for our protection, and that on the days when I struggle with negativity, I don’t need to be so hard on myself. I can forgive myself, knowing that this journey will be difficult, but that I am ready for the ride because I know that the reward and joy from being positive is so great.
So even though we have been wired to be negative, I challenge you to do the work to be positive. And I encourage you to be kind to yourself in the process. Maybe the negative perspective will never truly go away, but when we can still point out the positive, then we can experience the fulfilling life we crave, and despite the bear in the field, we will still be able to see the flowers.
And that is simply beautiful, go you.
Be Beautifully Simply You