Like anyone I love uplifting messages and positivity of happy posts, tweets, etc. Yet, when I read through them only focusing on all the ‘positivity’ messages I see a trend of victim blaming. It is as if the underlying message is this: if someone is going through a bad time? It is of their own creation. They must have thought incorrectly and brought about the bad into their life. It’s victim blaming of the worst kind.
It’s an insidious type of blaming.
First it’s slipping in making you feel good with all the years of family and friends who seemed to ‘have it all’ because they were always ‘so positive’, ‘so happy’. Their advice was always to think ‘correctly’ walk the path of never letting anyone in who makes you feel all ‘down’ or ‘negative’.
My question about this thinking is “does it have any resemblance to life’s reality?” The overall message is if I don’t toe the line of only having good things, uplifting things and oh yes abundant money things happen? I’m O U T of the person’s life.
I experience a lot of judgements made upon my appearance. Ones I am not even going into but the most outstanding one? Is one I have no control over. The facial droop from the brain injury causing the right side of my mouth to droop downward in a permanent frown. I can, in a resting position, seem to be looking down on everyone, everything in some judgmental place. Add to this my tendency to speak about real things, truthful things instead of being all super chirpy happy and over the top positive (even though my brain is stuck in happy).
Hey, I can be that way, but is it real?
Being real is much more important to me than being the ‘entertaining’ person in a group and a ‘feel good’ to be around person. I can look back through all the journals which have allowed me to have a look at the person I’d been before brain injury. Yes, I was that ‘feels so good to be around’ person on the job and it was my ‘job’ to put that out there for the comfort of others. But inside? I was dying inside from the hurt, the loneliness and the grief of loss. No one ever knew who I was because all they wanted to see was the ‘happy happy’ and if there was a glimpse of a ‘bad day’(because that is all I’d be allowed, was one bad day) it was a glitch.
I remember the day I walked in to pick up a paycheck with bruising on my face. I’d tried to avoid being there, but the need to get that check was much more than any embarrassment. Everyone was so happy to see me until I raised my face and the immediate silence was deafening. The inner embarrassment and shame was overwhelming. To know I’d have to keep going back to work after everyone knew my shame nearly kept me home.
Going back to work and everyone avoiding me, never once asking me if I was ‘okay’ or if I needed help hurt beyond anything I had ever experienced. See I’d broken that cardinal rule of being ‘happy happy’ and let them see the reality. It was a sheer reminder of how the ‘happiest’ seeming ones can be living a life full of the hardest reality of all.
In the end when I see the continued ‘trend’ of positivity messages with their victim blaming words I remember this day. Because in the end? Whatever had happened, because no one ever asked, must have been my own fault for not ‘thinking correctly’ and I’d allowed the bad into my life.
Perhaps they’d never considered the ‘bad’ had been in my life all the time and the only time I could get away from it had been the job. Perhaps I’d been trying to escape the bad and needed the help which was never tendered.
Think about it the next time you read a ‘positive thinking’ message. Is it really uplifting or is it really blaming someone for something beyond their control?
Perception is everything…what do you perceive about the ‘positive only zone’ messages?