Anatomy of a Positive Person


There is much talk of positivity these days. Think positive. Be positive. Affirm your goodness. All great suggestions for directing your energy level toward a healing trajectory.

However, from there the talk, the articles, the memes about positivity often devolve into grim hypocritical territory. Stay away from negative people. Remove negative people from your life. Don’t hang around with people who bring you down. Say goodbye to negative people and watch your life improve.

Who has not had a so-called negative thought or feeling? Who, if you are honest with yourself, is positive twenty-four hours a day? How many people spit out mantras for hours at a time “I am beautiful; I am peaceful; I am worthy; I am happy,” and their negative self-talk proves that they don’t believe a word of it? I speculate that far too many live in their own shadow, showing the world a happy persona, yet unable to carry real positivity within them that goes the distance and keeps them stable in a topsy-turvy world.

Here are nine qualities of positive people, the genuine ones, to strive for:

1. Genuine positive people are not afraid to show all aspects of themselves. When they are happy you know it. When they are sad they reach out for comfort. When they are angry (which is generally not often) they tell you why, without pointing fingers, and invite a conversation so you can work things out. This expression of all aspects is called authenticity.

2. Genuine positive people have radical courage. They do the work. They seek out professional help to work through old emotional wounds and heal so they don’t project their “stuff” onto others when it might seem easier to just lash out. They sift through behaviors and emotions that stem from early childhood, challenging and transforming what no longer serves them to find real self-acceptance and self-love, therefore they more readily accept and love others.

3. Genuine positive people are compassionate. Those who have done the work and found some semblance of inner peace, are able to sit with any feelings of sadness that arise without pushing away or shaming themselves for having the feelings. Accepting sad or so-called “negative” feelings in the moments when they appear is self-love at its best. Those who accept all parts of themselves, without shaming or berating themselves, will not shame or berate or push you away when you feel down.

4. Genuine positive people are strong. As they give themselves space to be sad and grieve for however long they need to, they also know that the intense pain of sadness and grief eventually dissipates. And when the mourning period is over, they pick themselves up and often rise to even greater joy, greater compassion, greater creativity, greater accomplishments than ever before.

5. Genuine positive people can be trusted. They are honest about who they are and how they feel and what they are doing in a given moment because they have nothing to hide. They do not wear masks or pretend to be someone they are not. They will be straight with you in a kind manner because they are comfortable with who they are. They walk with integrity.

6. Genuine positive people are open-hearted. They will tell you their story, for better or worse, not to be confused with negativity. Their open sharing of past difficulties is because they hope to inspire you and recognize that you too can come through troubling times. Or, in the case of sharing a difficulty they are currently going through, they share in hopes that you can hold space for the very human experience of life challenges. Genuine positive people offer a listening ear and comfort in times of need. They honor the fact that sometimes they also need comfort and compassionate witness.

7. Genuine positive people are not positive all the time, though they are positive much more often than average because of their dedication to the allowing of darker emotions that self-acceptance and self-love require. Rejection of darker emotions and feelings, either yours or those of another, is the same as shaming. A child who is admonished by shaming carries that wound into adulthood. When you reject yourself or another for having negative feelings, you perpetuate the wound of shame and actually deepen it.

8. Genuine positive people are not perfect and admit it. Life is a journey. Personal growth is an ongoing process and no matter how much work a person does, there is still the possibility of life throwing curve balls that are hard to deal with. In acknowledging their own imperfection, they do not expect perfection in others. Expecting others to be positive all the time is the personification of perfectionism. If you are positive and perfect inside and out 365 days a year, 24/7, please write to me and tell me what planet you are from.

9. Genuine positive people employ discernment. They are open, loving, respectful, empathetic, compassionate, and often quite patient. If they sense someone has ulterior motives or spends much of their time blaming others while refusing to look within over the long term, the genuine positive person will probably keep their distance.

In conclusion, if you go around rejecting everyone who exhibits negative emotions, it may be time to look within to see where you reject yourself. Unhealed darker emotions within you will cause you to react and overreact at the first sign of a perceived negative comment or something you disagree with, I guarantee you will be stuck on an endless hamster wheel of pushing people away.

Invite beauty into your life. Listen to beautiful music. Spend time in gorgeous outdoor spaces. Dance. Sing. Meditate. Laugh often. Do what you are able to enhance the good and do the inner work. In the book Be Here Now, Ram Dass said, “Just because you are seeing divine light, experiencing waves of bliss, or conversing with Gods and Goddesses is no reason to not know your zip code.”

What he means is, always remember you are human and humans come with both darkness and light. Be present with yourself and you become present with others. Instead of wearing a part-time fake positive mask, choose to become a genuine positive person. Honor all of yourself.

***Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this article, I invite you to test how many times can you hit the clapping hands to your immediate left in 5, 10, or 60 seconds. It’s one more way to keep your fingers in shape AND will help other people see the story. Writing is my passion, so thanks for your help in spreading my work to others!

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