Positivity and Happiness; One and the Same?

Positivity and Professionalism

Positivity – The quality or state of being positive; actualness; certainty; confidence; peremptoriness; dogmatism

Happiness – An agreeable feeling or condition of the soul arising from good fortune or propitious happening of any kind; the possession of those circumstances or that state of being which is attended with enjoyment

Definitions provided by Webster’s Dictionary

Though these two terms carry similar definitions, they are not one of a kind.

Though not identical in meaning, positivity and happiness build off and complement one another.  The two share a ‘Yin-Yang’ relationship.

It is possible to maintain a positive mindset without truly feeling happiness.  However, it is not possible to feel genuine happiness without the help of a positive attitude.

I’ll use a water-related analogy to depict the importance of positivity.  When I’ve been thrown into the lake without warning, I rely on my positive attitude to help me temporarily tread water.  Though it’s perfectly normal for me to have irrational fears of drowning, I know I’ll one day remember how to swim again.  At that point, I’ll swim to shore and safety.

That being said, I can’t claim to be happy while treading water and running low on energy.  However, it is my positive attitude that is helping me to maintain sanity and serenity.  I choose to not fixate on my current unfortunate situation that could drown me.

Instead, I look forward to the greener pastures that I will most certainly find.  I remind myself that I’ve survived this predicament before, and will survive it again.  I will regain my ability to swim and bring myself to land.

On the flip side of the coin, one cannot experience true happiness while not maintaining a positive attitude.

Think about it.  How is it possible to feel genuine happiness without clinging to positive undertones?

By now, you may have played “Devil’s Advocate” and considered the following scenarios:

  • One is “happy” that a long-winded peer has finally stopped talking.

This person is impatient and egotistical, feeling as though his or her time is too valuable for said peer.

  • One is “happy” that an arch nemesis has fallen on difficult times.

This person is merely spiteful and practicing the exact opposite of positivity.

  • One is “happy” that the spring semester has finally ended.

This is actually a feeling of relief, not happiness.  Though perfectly common, this person may hold a negative perception of his or her coursework, instructors, and semester in general.

The human mind is an imperfect creation.  We are humans, not robots.  We never have 100% control over the thoughts we think and the feelings we feel.  After all, it can be difficult enough to control the things we say without worrying about passing thoughts.

That being said, it is inhuman to completely refrain from experiencing negative thoughts.  It is impossible to enjoy happiness at all times.

However, being aware of negative thinking is the first step in working towards a positive mindset.  The more aware we are of oncoming negative thoughts, the easier it becomes to combat them.

On my next post, I’ll discuss ways in which we can actively fight negative thoughts, promote positive ones, and strive for true happiness.

“Good Grief…”