Focusing only on the positive aspects can be a trap.
“I want to move but, I have a really great job here.”
“I’m sad a lot in this relationship but I just care about them so much and I don’t want to be alone.”
“I feel a sense of dread walking into my corporate office everyday, but I just make too much to leave.”
These are statements I hear from my clients everyday in therapy. In fact, the frequency by which I hear sentiments like these is so often, I’ve begun to notice them everywhere.
So often, we work on the things that we don’t like and just gloss right over the other things that also keep us stuck. Or we dismiss the sensation of feeling trapped and justify it by focusing only on the good or positive aspects (also called toxic positivity).
Like the moments of approval you receive from that normally critical family member.
Sometimes it’s that creeping feeling of wanting to impress or live up to an expectation that you notice after being complimented. You sort of feel pressure to please or be who they want you to be; a little tied to their approval.
Perhaps it’s deciding to ‘not say anything back’ to someone who is being condescending to you because in the past they’ve done so much for you. So instead, your boundary is crossed and you grow a little distant and uncomfortable in the relationship.
We let that be enough. That one good thing, and we convince ourselves to deal with all the rest.
“I’ll retire eventually. I’ll live my life then.”
“That’s just the way she is.”
“He’ll go to therapy.”
“I’m strong, I can deal with it.”
Or maybe we just don’t have see the possibilities at all. Instead we feel very stuck and depressed feeling like there’s no way out.
Using mindful awareness, reflection, and attunement with another person can help us untangle from the things we’ve gotten ourselves trapped in so that we can unpack the beliefs that are keeping us from the life that truly aligns us with our values.