“Just try to see the positive. It could be worse.” Does this sound familiar to you?
On facebook, Instagram, etc. are many popular memes about this little sentence. A little, ridiculous sentence with no meaning at all. It seems like the best you could say in a situation you have no influence in. But, just try to imagine, how you would react if a person in front of you says this. Like, you’re in a very complicated situation, you are confused and everything seems against you. And then, you decide to ask for help and the “reference person” in front of you has nothing to say but “Try to see the positive.”
It’s like “Please stay calm, don’t freak out”. Ever tried saying this to a person? Did they actually calm down? No? What a surprise.
I could give you many many examples of sentences, which are the least helpful ones in a complicated situation. But at the end of the day, we all would be depressed. Because of that, I will explain to you WHY these sentences shouldn’t be said in ANY situation and what you could say instead. Everyone should at least try to help.
Why do people say this?
I can imagine that many people just want to help by saying these tiny words. A normal human being doesn’t like madness or confusion. Neither does a normal human being want to see others being mad or confused. I think it is in our nature to at least try to be helpful but how can you help when you don’t have control over a situation. I mean, not everything is as simple as cooking noodles or bicycling. And problems, you don’t have or situations you don’t take place in, ARE difficult to handle. If you can’t imagine how it is to be in the same situation as the person in front of you, you are not able to help. And people simply think that just saying “Try to see the positive. It could be worse.” is better than saying nothing at all.
What to do instead
Most of the time, people just want to talk about their problems. They want to discharge their thoughts and sorrows. Sometimes, you just can’t help. And the person in front of you knows that. It would be very odd if he expects a solution or answer to his own problem. How should you know it if you’re not even involved directly? For this reason, don’t try to find far-fetched solutions which could make the situation worse. Instead, you can listen to what your friend’s talking about. Make clear that you’re interested in his or her life and that you would do something if he or she asks for it. Probably, you can find a solution together, while you’re speaking about it. And if not, it doesn’t mean that you are a bad friend. To be honest, you’re an even better friend than the one who only says something like “Try to see the positive”. I mean, sure, I COULD see the positive, but I’m not exactly in the mood.
Try to see the positive
As a result, I just wanted to emphasize something more. Ever thought about this sentence in another way? Have you ever seen this sentence from another perspective? Well, until my father and I talked about this specific topic, I haven’t either. “Try to see the positive” could also be translated into “Do not mind the negative aspects.” At first glance, it seems to be very optimistic, doesn’t it? Stop here and think about it for a minute. Now, can you see how unrealistic it seems? With this little sentence, you encourage people to close their eyes to the general view of a situation. You encourage people to suppress every negative aspect just to feel happy for a limited time. You don’t encourage them to search for a solution (which is clearly more difficult). In an unintended way, you help them to ONLY see through a pinky-dinky glasses. And this, my dear friends, is a bigger problem than everything else.
Being optimistic is one of the best characteristics, a person can have. Because who doesn’t want to be around a person who clearly sees an escape in a complicated situation. Being able to not give up easily and motivating people at the same time, is a wonderful trait. There is a difference between optimistic people and people how to force themselves to always see the positive, to always be happy. The difference is: Optimistic people are able to see both sides – the negative and the positive. But the do not lose hope easily, they’re always searching for a solution even if it seems to be impossible. And at the end, they are the real winners because being able to fight the negative AND gaining experiences is more important than only pretending to be happy. They do not close their eyes to the negatives like the fake-happy people do. Optimistic people WANT to see the negative so they can appreciate the positive. Makes sense, huh? There is a quote from an unknown author:
Hopefully, you remember these few points in my blog post, as for it is very important to never ever close your eyes to the negative. Not only in relation to tiny problems, nor too big world problems. It may be painful but just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.