Gianna Cognetti, Features Editor
Have you ever noticed the happiest people often are the most sad? Think of Robin Williams for example. On the outside, Williams appeared like he was happy. He was able to make people laugh, he had fame and wealth, and to the public he seemed content.
However, Williams once said “I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless and they don’t want anyone else to feel like that.”
According to recent studies, too much positivity can actually do more harm than good.
The negative effects of positivity are shown when people start to mask their true feelings to compensate for being happy, ignoring problems and feeling guilty for being negative sometimes.
For example, thinking “I should not feel this way because there are others who have it worse.”
“I think being overly positive gives people false hope,” Graduate Student Logan Glazier said.
Glazier noted that false hope leads people into thinking everything will work out how they plan and when situations do not go as planned, their hopes are crushed. The constant “let down” can be damaging.
The positive thinking and “brushing off” things as if they are no big deal may cause people to not actually feel the natural emotions they are meant to feel. Allowing one’s body to understand how situations make them feel and cope with those emotions as they come is actually healthier mentally.
Social media is another attribute to affecting people and their emotions. Many celebrities on social media make a point for their following to think positively and try to find the light in every situation. This may not seem like an awful way to live, however, Glazier mentions how it can potentially make people avoid their real emotions.
“I think this can be harmful because emotions are normal and you need to have a balance between the positives and negatives,” she said. “Also showcasing constant positivity can make people feel worse for not being positive 24/7, it is not realistic.”
In fact, it’s been proven repeatedly from social media guru Dan Zarrella that being negative or showcasing raw emotion on social media will play a part in losing social media followers.
“Negative remarks include things like sadness, aggression, negative emotions and feelings, and morbid comments,” Zarrella said. “Nobody likes to follow Debbie Downer accounts with lots of followers. Don’t tend to make many negative remarks. If you want more followers, cheer up!”
Ironically, the way we avoid raw emotions and negative feelings is combating them with the positive through the digital landscape. In a sense, we’re neglecting our own feelings along with the feelings of others in a digital realm that replicates our real-life environment.
In some ways, people will begin to question if they are not being positive enough or question why they are not as positive as the people they see. This can make them either force positivity or potentially make them think more negatively. Both are not healthy.
On the contrary, being positive can be helpful and not all positivity is harmful. Bad things need to happen in life in order to appreciate the good. As humans it is inevitable that failure is going to happen, however, it is about how a person is able to carry themselves after the “fall.”
Senior Joseph Capuano said life is how a person is able to react.
“Being positive is not a bad thing because there are always two ways to look at something,” he said. “People can either pick themselves back up, or dwell on the negative parts of life.”