Monday, January 23, 2012

The difference between staying positive and wearing a mask

I wasn't planning to blog today, but this idea just hit me in the face and I decided to go ahead and write it down.

There is a very fine line between staying positive and pretending to be positive. I've noticed that I've been blurring this line a lot lately. There is a line between having a good attitude about a certain situation and acting like you have a good attitude when in reality, you want to drive your car over a cliff or inhale a bottle of Xanax. (Please don't do either one of those things. That would make me very sad.)

EXAMPLE: Let's say you spend the last of the money in your wallet on a large, delicious cup of Starbucks that you've been craving all day. As you joyfully rush out the door to enjoy your little piece of heaven, you trip and spill it everywhere. But instead of declaring that your whole day is ruined and that life can't possibly go on, you laugh it off and say, "Oh well. I can always get another one tomorrow." THAT is staying positive. THAT is accepting what happened and accepting that you can't rewind time and try more carefully not to trip and spill your drink.

But let's say that your BFF says or does something that really pisses you off/hurts your feelings. You pretend to let it roll off your back and justify her/his behavior by saying that she/he didn't mean it or that she/he was just having a bad day. You act like it doesn't bother you at all, when in reality, it's all you think about. It corrodes at your soul day in and day out, but you continue to avoid talking to her/him about it because you don't want to seem hurt or bothered by it. You convince yourself that you're just having a positive attitude and letting it go. THAT is wearing a mask.

If something is corroding at your soul, you need to address it.

I will say that again.

If something is corroding at your soul, you need to address it. (*cough* MADISON *cough*)

Like I said at the beginning of this post, I'm struggling with this right now. I've been blurring the line between staying positive and wearing a mask. I have problems that need to be faced, confrontations that need to be had, and feelings that need to be addressed.

I am an expert at painting on a happy face. But when that happy face gets washed away as a result of sobbing into my pillow at night, something needs to change. Something needs to be done.

So basically, accepting what is and accepting what you can't change is called staying positive. But if you're unhappy about something that CAN be changed and you're choosing to ignore it and "suck it up" instead, that's called wearing a mask.

Let's try to learn the difference together.

<3 Madison


  1. This is a tough one for me right now as I find myself in the middle of a divorce to a man I was with for 7 years. Sometimes I know I'm being genuinely positive, but at other times I question if I'm hiding behind a mask which can tend to confuse me as to where the line lays. Since writing this, any pointers you may have for someone going through this? Thank you, CJ

    1. Hi CJ!

      I'm sorry about your divorce. I've never been through a bad break-up, so I can't really relate to what you must be going through. But my advice is to not stuff down your feelings. Don't feel obligated to be strong all the time, or force yourself through the healing process.

      We all heal at our own pace, and I think it's important to take all the time we need. It's good that you're trying to be positive, but don't think that just because you have a day or two of feeling upset every now and then that you're not making any progress. It's easy to convince ourselves that we haven't made progress whenever we feel as if we've fallen back to square one.

      So just be patient with yourself and take all the time you need. :-)

      <3 Madison