Stay positive...or else...

Anyone that knows or has observed me knows that I’m somewhat of a cheerleader and champion for people to do better. When trying out a new thing, looking for a new job, moving to a new place, anything that requires effort and growth in a positive direction, I am the person who tells my friends that the effort is worth it and that things will get done. Even in my darkest hours I will lift my own hands up to make sure other people’s heads are held high.

Most recently I’ve been going through my own struggles and I’ve had similar treatment given to me. Friends have contacted me and upon hearing my stories, give me the encouragement I’ve given them in the past. Even if I hadn’t before, they’ve still done their best to try to lift my head high as well and there’s never a moment where I don’t appreciate that treatment.

However...recently in a few of my low points I started to wonder why we all need the encouragement that we do? Why keep saying these things over and over because we all know that others think it? We see social media posts daily where in between the bad news are a barrage of friends who keep sending out positivity posts with quotes, scriptures, and even Instagram models who post thirst traps but also make sure to have their caption wish you a nice day in some small way. I’m guessing the algorithm needs words to work so they have to put something there but I digress. Positivity seems to always be the wave even when we don’t want it to be.

So many times I know a lot of us can’t stand the constant posts telling us to be happy and that we’ll get through it. Sometimes we just feel like hell and that’s not the message we’re looking for. When you’re in that low place where you feel like you can’t dig yourself out of, none of that positivity means anything because although the wider world is moving along, your small world is the only world you know. Tasks can seem insurmountable and the enjoyment pulled out from you. Hearing everyone tell you that hard work is going to fix your issues and that it’ll get better can sound like placating when it’s told to you enough times or even when you’re telling others as well. I hate it when I’m encouraging someone and it feels to me like my responses were mass produced from Hallmark or some marketing company that has an emphasis on synergy. Or even uses the word ‘synergy.’ No one ever wants their feelings to feel like just a number, they want to be treated as an individual with specific issues. Most pep talks don’t always convey that people care as much as they do but the sentiment is there.

And here’s the other thing...if we don’t get the encouragement...then what? I sat around thinking of this and wondered what is the outcome of a lack of encouragement? What happens when we just let the negativity take over? Nothing good.

As much as we may hate to feel like we’re being disingenuous, it honestly matters to do something. We have to be able to look outside of ourselves and see that life has to continue. Things need to improve because becoming stagnant means that you’re no longer living. If you have nothing to look forward to, why are you here? If you’re not going to eventually get better, what are you going to do and why are you, in turn, doing anything at all? I’ve dealt with people who have this mindset and it’s the most frustrating thing because I think we can all relate to everything not going right for us, but something has to eventually. There’s not a specific timeline for better, but it has to happen or you have no reason to live. And as wild as the world can be right now, we’ve still got reasons to live and things to do. We have a world and a life that we continue to shape and mold with our every action. Because if we don’t….then what? People commit suicide over a lack of internal positivity and encouragement. They don’t see things getting better and they turn towards a permanent solution instead of getting better.

Unfortunately there will always be people who will want to take that route because it is impossible to save everyone. But for those we can, they need to see that through all of the noise, someone out there has a message for you. And be it an Instagram model, R. M. Drake, a snarky Twitter post, your best friend for even someone you’ve just met, the message is clear that the world is going to continue and since you’re already on the ride, might as well be a part of it instead of squatting in a corner. Maybe you can help it to be better instead of hiding from it?

October is the birth date of my best friend Deandre Coleman. He committed suicide April of 2010 and so I like to celebrate and reflect during both months a little more than I normally do. He couldn’t see it getting better but because of him, I could. I’m not in the best place right now in myriad ways but things are still better in some ways and are going to improve in others. That possibility is out there and I hope others at least know it. So while I’m not the type to post a bunch of positivity memes, know that I do feel it to be true. I will be inside your messenger, texts and phone conversations hyping you up and if we’re in person I’m going to do my best to make you feel your own worth. I have a lot of people doing it for me so I might as well give back. It’s not for Dre as he’s not here and didn’t want to be for it, but his actions pushed me forward into it.

So for everyone out there, just know that it may be hard, it may be tough and things aren’t great, but from here they have the opportunity to improve. And if we don’t think so, we’ve got no business doing anything.