“Positive Vibes Only”

To be honest, I’m becoming wary of, and weary from “positive vibes only” messaging. I don’t need “positive vibes only” folks. I need folks who are able to both hold space for, and express, a wide variety of complex human emotions.

One of my challenges with faux positivity thinking is that there’s a really thin line between it and gaslighting.

For me there’s a point when the law of attraction stuff crosses a line into victim blaming territory that offers simplistic explanations for complex, systemic problems.

Systems of oppression are designed to impact the lives of folks with marginalized identities regardless of how they might feel about themselves personally in terms of positive self-esteem, commitment, and whatever other traits are often used in law of attraction thinking as a deficit explanation for why individuals or groups aren’t in a certain place in life.

In life and online, set your own boundaries. Use the block button. Log off. To the degree that you can, do what you need to do to protect your own mental health and energy in light of whatever discomfort you might be experiencing based on what is happening locally or nationally.

I think we can acknowledge the need to do that, while also recognizing that not everyone can “take a break”, or turn it off in the same ways, if at all.

Can we not tell people what is acceptable to share here? Particularly those who are personally impacted by issues that other folks are only exposed to on an intellectual level at best.

Let people rage and grieve and organize and heal. Let people tell their own stories. And when the day comes that you might need support or solidarity, may you be met by an individual or community who can hold space for, and express, a wide variety of complex human emotions.

Ubuntu,

From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins-Jones

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Written by

I’m a Social Justice Educator and Aspiring Humanitarian who is interested in conflict resolution, improving intergroup relations, and building more equitable and inclusive communities.

“Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian” is my blog, where I write about issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. By exploring social identities through written word, film & video, and other forms of media, I hope to continue to expand and enrich conversations about social issues that face our society, and to find ways to take social action while encouraging others to do so as well in their own ways.

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4 Responses

  1. kedawithani says:

    “I don’t need “positive vibes only” folks. I need folks who are able to both hold space for, and express, a wide variety of complex human emotions.

    One of my challenges with faux positivity thinking is that there’s a really thin line between it and gaslighting.”

    I was tempted to paste this entire post in the comment section because it was sooooooooo awesome…!

    • Thanks for your kind comment! These words have been in my heart for quite some time, but I was moved to publish them recently after witnessing yet another person get shut down and labeled as being negative for advocating for themselves. I say this often here at N.A.H.: Naming a problem is not creating a problem.

  1. October 20, 2017

    […] –From my note: “Positive Vibes Only” […]

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