How Staying Positive Can Leave You Lonely
I am guessing that if you are taking the time to read this you're someone who is dedicated to creating healthy relationships. Unfortunately sometimes good intentions can slide into stagnant "have to's".
A gem reader, let's call her Janna, wrote about trying to stay strong willed and positive at work. She expressed feeling drained by taking responsibility for conversations and then feeling lonely longing for camaraderie. I have a guess that in Janna's intent to create healthy relationships she slid into the stagnant pool of "must stay positive".
I have slid into this pool many times myself. I can sometimes get caught in thinking I have to be a model of something positive rather than a human being. I end up losing an authentic connection to feelings and needs and also begin to believe that others can't be there for my difficulties. The more I imagine others can't be there for me, the less they tend to inquire about my feelings and needs, and so it spirals downward.
When it seems like you are doing all the work to stay positive, I encourage you to let some grumpiness show. Let those around you see your struggle and your needs. It's hard for others to contribute to you when you are busy being "positive". Heck, raise your voice if that's where your energy is. You can raise your voice without being violent if you are expressing your feelings and needs. Strong relationships aren't built on staying positive and being nice. They are built on authenticity and caring. That caring starts with attending to your needs as much as you attend to the needs of others.
This week do an experiment. Pick a relationship and situation in which you will choose to express a yucky feeling, unmet need, and request. Choose a person you had previously written off as someone who doesn't hear you. Remember your request can be something simple like, "Am I making sense, can you tell me what you are getting from what I said?"
Responding to Arguments Against NVC