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The Unlikely Advantages of Being a ‘Negative Ninny!’

Updated: May 15

Like a lot of people, I often find myself hoodwinked by the 'good vibes only' charm of social media.

The same charm that doubles up as a digital slap on the wrist for anyone who's ever second-guessed, procrastinated, doubted or worried, in no particular order.

It all seems very logical and convincing, this #positivityonly spiel, and especially so far as ‘recipes for success’ go.

However, there’s something about this idea of shutting down ALL the non-positive, doubtful and down-right dismal voices in one’s head (or at least trying to) that has always seemed ambitious at best… maybe unnatural at worst.

Negativity, after all… can be activating, in a reverse psychology kind of way!

It also keeps assumption (the mother of all f*c* ups) and arrogance at bay, which in turn makes ‘success’ all the more satisfying (because it’s not expected!), and gratitude all the more forthcoming.

Of course, I can concede that there is one all-important caveat to these rather anecdotal advantages of being a ‘negative ninny.’

That is, it has to be within reason.

Only when the glass is half full most of the time, can anything good ever come from a bit of strategic, self-lacering inner dialogue.

I say this with a tongue partly in cheek, for negativity is surely something that could and should never pass as a 'life hack.'

What I can say, however, is that it maybe isn’t the big no-no for ‘being our best selves’ that affirmation culture would have us believe it is!

Maybe, just maybe, it’s the counterpoint that positivity needs, to maintain its efficacy. To prevent it from becoming a default mode, in the event of which, its fruits would taste nowhere near as sweet.

By conceding that negativity could in some way be a positive, it makes the reality of being a worrier, in particular, somewhat easier to live with.

It makes the fear and loathing of flying (for example) something I can now better justify articulating.

After all, it’s not so much of a sign of positivity gone amiss, but a testament to the reality of being human.

It could also be taken as an antidote to 'bossing it' culture, where negative thinking is viewed as something to be exorcised… rather than ‘exercised’ (as it inevitably should be) according to the laws of 'emotional synergy.'

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