How to Avoid the Positivity Trap

“Being positive” is one of the most common obstacles to healing for those in the new age community. There are positive affirmations and meditations meant to embed positivity into your life, and countless teachers building their practice around reframing people’s suffering with a positive spin. But what if being positive is not what we need?


The combination of meditation and positivity practices can pull people into a dissociative trance. It can become self-avoidance masquerading as enlightenment. We have found ourselves in an addictive state of defaulting to positivity under any and all circumstances. There is a refusal to be present for all that is. The constant need to find the light in every situation prevents maturation in the deeper realms. There is an inability to fully support and hold the space for another’s suffering and a turning away from the growth work that is demanded by our life’s challenges. We are dynamic beings with a range of depthful emotional experiences – cutting ourselves off from them in the name of positivity is cutting ourselves off from our basic aliveness – our juice. 

So how do we avoid the positivity trap?

  1. Assume nothing: This is the practice of an open mind. We are not assuming that positivity is the most valuable state. We are not assuming that one state has value over another. We are curious and open to what is arising.
  2. Welcome Everything: Set the fixing aside. We won’t eliminate victimization by pretending their are no victims. This is a practice of an open heart. It is fearlessly accepting reality as it is.
  3. Owning our Experience: Your story and experience belongs to you. Claim it. All of the ugly, beautiful, wild parts.
  4. Turn towards your story: Life is inviting us in. We are invited into each simple and subtle moment. Into each emotion. Each dynamic life experience. Our job is not to turn it all around, but to step into it.


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