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The Pitfalls Of False Positivity And The Power Of Embracing All Your Emotions

Written by: Chelsea Haines, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Chelsea Haines

In a world increasingly saturated with Instagram-worthy moments and motivational quotes, it's easy to get caught up believing that any emotion that isn't positive and "all good vibes" is wrong. We're bombarded with messages encouraging us to embrace a relentlessly upbeat attitude and to paint a smile on even when we may be drowning. The emotions that often get a bad rep are necessary. And even make those "sweet" emotions that much sweeter. Too much sweetness while denying the bitterness leads to what we call "False positivity." Today, look at the pitfalls of false positivity and the power of embracing all your emotions.

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While optimism and positivity have their place in keeping us in a healthy mental state, it doesn't mean there isn't a crucial place for emotions such as sadness, anxiety, anger, and longing. It doesn’t mean these don’t contribute to a healthy mental state.

How can positivity be false?

In techniques like visualization and manifestation, the idea is that you put yourself into that desired state. These are powerful techniques and are not the same as false positivity. This is because those emotions are the ones you want to feel. You're showing up in ways to get closer to that goal and the way you want to feel. With these techniques, you are not denying the challenges of pursuing your dreams or life mission. False positivity, on the other hand, refers to an insincere display of positive emotions or optimism. They often mask or deny negative emotions, challenges, or issues. It involves putting on an overly optimistic mask without addressing the underlying issues or acknowledging your true feelings. While this seems similar, these slight key differences separate us. The separation is between those leading authentic lives and those who suffer potential long-term emotional or psychological consequences. Early on in my coaching journey, I came across an emotional vibration analysis frequency chart that I feel puts emotions into a more relatable context:

Emotional vibration analysis frequency chart

The Emotional Vibration Analysis Frequency Chart is a tool designed to categorize and measure the vibrational frequencies of different emotions. This chart aims to help us understand and navigate our emotions. It consists of different emotions organized based on their perceived frequencies, with the idea that some emotions vibrate at higher frequencies than others. Understanding this chart involves delving into its background, structure, and how it categorizes emotions based on their vibrational qualities.

Range of emotions

Exploring the Emotional Vibration Analysis Frequency Chart reveals a wide range of emotions categorized into different groups. At the higher end of the chart, you'll find emotions like love, joy, and gratitude, which are high-frequency emotions. In the middle, emotions such as contentment, boredom, and anger fall into the middle-frequency range. At the lower end of the chart, you'll encounter emotions like fear, despair, and shame, deemed low-frequency. It's important to remember that emotions are complex and don't always fit neatly into these categories, as they can vary within each group.

Where my positivity stems from

The reason people perceived me as positive is because of the simple fact that I operate from a baseline of Abundance. Operating from an Abundance Mindset means that I don't fear change, I am up for a challenge, I understand that there are enough of the good things in life to go around, and even when I am feeling low vibrationally, I can see the learning opportunity in it. This means I do not pretend to be positive or be cheerful when facing tough times. Instead, it looks like experiencing the full spectrum of emotions and choosing to show up positively when I can while also taking that time to feel and express the lower-vibration feelings when needed. You can start transforming how you feel about things by operating from a place of abundance, expressing and feeling those lower-vibration emotions, and switching fear into challenges.

Why this topic of false positivity matters

I see in myself and my clients how promoting false positivity creates an underlying societal belief that something is wrong with you if you're not feeling positive. It is essential to bring awareness to how unquestioningly promoting positivity without honoring all of our emotional capacity could hinder someone's grander emotional experience. There is, without a doubt, an overall belief that lower vibrational feelings (such as grief, shame, sadness, and anger) are "bad" and that we must do something to "fix" these issues and be positive instead.

How to avoid false positivity? Create a time and space to feel it all

If we always have to put on a face, we may not have created a space to feel our full emotions. That is always a good place to start – a safe place to be honest and authentic with ourselves. There is always an appropriate time and place to display lower-vibration emotions, yet we cannot ignore them. The only way to higher vibrational emotions is straight through the lower ones. A little life hack is to have someone you love and trust (your therapist or coach) guide you through this space to ensure you don't get stuck there.

Because as we all know well enough – spending TOO much time down there can also be harmful. We want to avoid getting stuck lingering around in our story. We must shift into a space of curiosity to see what we can learn from the experience to use the story as fuel rather than give it more power to feed our fears. The only way to make this shift is to give each other and ourselves permission to feel our feelings without the added pressure of guilt or shame for feeling the way we naturally do about things.

The outcome of always looking on the bright side

Embracing a constant state of "positive vibes" can unintentionally have the opposite effect of what you might have been going for – pushing down your authentic emotions. It could be detrimental to people experiencing hardship and even alienate people with difficulty seeing through the darkness. It could make that person feel 'less-than' or 'broken,' furthering the downward spiral of emotions. When we try to maintain a never-ending mask of positivity, we may find ourselves burying emotions that don't fit this ideal. Rather than facing and processing these feelings, we push them aside, which can result in a backlog of unresolved emotions. On top of it all, trying to be positive all the time can be stressful, and if you still need to, take a deep dive to see what stress does to your gut.

Tips for supporting a loved one experiencing a low

When someone you love feels down, it is natural to want to help. However, YOUR discomfort with THEIR sadness is not grounds to "fix" them. The best way you can support a loved one who is feeling those lower-vibration emotions is to:

  1. Actively listen. This includes listening with all of your senses, not just your ears. Put down any distractions and wholly and compassionately hear what your loved one is trying to say.

  2. Don't try to fix the situation. Your loved one is capable, strong, and more amazing than they may believe. Give them time to tune into their intuition, feel their feelings, and solve their problems. You both know they can do it; they just need time. Sitting together in silence can be uncomfortable for you, and the MOST potent tool to help them. If you want to be of service, now is the time to dig deep.

  3. Ask for permission. If you have some information that could be valuable and helpful for your loved one, asking permission to share is the NUMBER ONE KEY and HIGHLY IMPORTANT in building trust and camaraderie. You shouldn't expect that they are open to your input, just as they shouldn't expect you to help them. This is a mutual bond that goes both ways.

  4. Don't rush it. Emotions come and go in waves. The waves of grief, for example, start as tsunamis. They come fast, abruptly, and without warning; at first, we drown in them. It takes time for these waves to slowly spread out between attacks and even more time for them to lower in size and quantity. Soon enough, your loved one will come up for some air to breathe, and, eventually, they will be able to predict when the waves will come and know how to handle them to stay above the water. Until then, let them ride the waves without pressure to do anything else.

Breath in acceptance, breath out labels

This more extensive conversation about accepting our human experience and embracing lower-vibration emotions is helpful and healing and precisely how we move towards genuine positivity from a grounded place. It starts with accepting all our emotions as part of our beautiful human experience. The next step, of course, is releasing the need to label emotions as good or bad.

The place to make any change almost always starts with acceptance. Acceptance, on the other side, usually leads to dissolving the labels that once felt crippling. This seemingly simple cycle is so much more complex than it appears. But starting small with noting your feelings, allowing time and space to feel it all before moving to a place of acceptance and non-judgment – is a pretty great place to start.

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Chelsea Haines Brainz Magazine

Chelsea Haines, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Recently featured "The Gut Health Coach" by Yahoo!, Chelsea Haines has a unique way of helping high-performers heal. She doesn't claim to know best. Her mission: to remind you that YOU are the expert on your body, only you know precisely what you need, and you are not "crazy" for feeling how you feel. Her expertise stems from personally healing autoimmune disease paired with formal degrees in psychology, gut health, and mindfulness. She’s the Founder of The Gut Health Agency, where a team of health coaches & Registered Dietitians merge health coaching with clinical testing for increased patient compliance and lasting habit change ‒ a needle-moving combination not otherwise seen in the gut health space.



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