Why perpetual optimism needs to take a back seat


I know. It’s a wee bit shocking to hear this come from a wellness and personal development blogger, but even I sometimes get pissed off at the never-ending positivity filled quotes in my Instagram feed. Don’t get me wrong, as someone who shares them myself, many of them can and do land in a cerebral sweet spot and put a little spring in my step. But with the world in the state it’s been in the last few weeks, the ‘It’s all good’ brigade are even giving me the irits.

I can’t, and I repeat, CANNOTĀ reconcile what is going on at the moment with the perpetual optimism I see coming at me from many directions. I want to grab the nearest megaphone, clear my scratchy throat and shout, “Ahem, can I have your attention please? Are we living in the same world? Where people are being shot out of the sky, innocent people are facing injustices everywhere, our environment is being trashed and Lord Voldemort and his team of death eaters have seemingly taken over governing Australia? Do you feel the same pain as me? And if not, what the hell are you on and can you give me some?”.

Fiji village walk and talks

I’ve been working in Fiji for the past few weeks. And while I’ve been deeply ensconced in work with communities on the ground here, I’ve been simultaneously keenly aware of the geopolitical issues our world is facing and the INTENSE energy swirling around them. Can you feel it? It’s hitting many of us right in the guts.

Usually, I’d be well across every angle of nearly every event going on. I’m a self-confessed information junkie. But being away from my normal routine/office/access, I haven’t been able to do this. And, just quietly, part of me isĀ a little bit glad. Because with every sliver of news I’m gathering and knitting together, my heart breaks even more. If I had unfettered access I’d probably be a mopey mess on the floor, with nary the strength to put my clothes on.

Is it okay to just be generally peeved with the world every so often? Without feeling guilty that we’re not doing our bit to hold a high and positive vibration, sending healing love and light to those in need? My answer is hell yes. Plastering over gaping anger wounds with smiley rainbow tape does no one any favours. Suppressing our true feelings, whatever they may be, is not healthy.

Can we all just give ourselves permission slips that allow us to keenly feel the hurt, the sadness, the anger and the frustration at what’s happening?

Doing this doesn’t mean we need to act out, or project our negative feelings in non-constructive ways, but instead we can greet the heaviness that descends over our hearts and bellies with curiosity. Listen to it. Journal on it. Sit and breathe deeply in to it. Let the tears flow if they’re there. Or just fucking scream.

Really feeling my way through uber-hurty emotions is one of the only ways I’ve found to be truly free and unshackled by them, in the long term.

A practice I’m finding really helpful at the moment is presence. Deep-seated presence. By reeling in my wandering thoughts (just like I’m reelin’ in a fish) right back to the here and now, I’m truly able to notice and feel what’s around me: watching children in giggling raptures as they prod and stroke my ruby red, completely chipped toe polish and look at me with their twinkling eyes. Drinking in the beauty of underwater reefs and caverns as I dive in Mama Nature’s beauty. Bare feet on tickly grass. Wind cooling the sweat on my brow.

Little moments.

Anchoring me back.

To the here and now.

This is my solace, as I ride the waves of anger and outrage at what our world is going through.

There’s always room for optimism in my books. But if our commitment to it is hog-tying us to deny our true feelings in times of turmoil and suffering, it needs to take its cute little behind and place itself firmly in the back seat. At least for a little while.

I’d love to hear how you’re feeling at the moment, please share below. xx


  • Tracey Astill

    Brilliantly said! Couldn’t agree more lovely. Xxx

  • Kylie

    I HEART THIS POST SO HARD. (Enough for all caps!) It makes me feel so mad/sad/overwhelmed/helpless when I read about what’s going on in Gaza, or our treatment of refugees. And I feel really conflicted when people say that they don’t read the news anymore because it’s too depressing – because on the one hand I really get that, and there are times when I have to tune out myself, but on the other hand I feel like it’s our responsibility to be engaged, to know about people’s plights who are less fortunate than us, and to help where we can. That’s why I think what you do is so important.

    And your message in this post is spot on – sometimes all we can really do is feel, be compassionate, and anchor to the present moment. xo

    • Carly

      Thank you for your gorgeous words, lovely Kylie. You’ve made such a good point about people ignoring the news/what’s going on and being conflicted about that. I am too. I think a balance of awareness and sanity protection can be struck. xx

  • Lara

    This is so so perfect!

  • Amy ~ OtherWiseLiving

    Wowswers…I’m sitting here watching SBS news after scanning through Instagram and Facebook and you seem to have taken the words out of my head and the feelings out of my heart. Thank you for writing this, it all needs to be said.
    My heart’s heavy, it’s aching and for the past 2 Saturdays I’ve cried…big cries. For what seems to be a rising pile of pain and injustice for humanity and Mother Earth. I’ve tried to focus on the light, the love and the beauty in my own little world. But my usual upbeat, optimistic sunny disposition of gratitude has been smashed to the side by this upheaval that cannot be ignored.
    To ignore it would be disrespectful to all that are experiencing this pain.
    I like what you and Kylie above have written. Feeling it, practicing compassion and awareness is something.
    Thank you again xxx

    • Carly

      Thank you for your lovely words, Amy. It sounds like we’re in the same place! It means so much to hear that my post resonated with you. Thanks for letting me know xx

  • Rachel

    Well said!

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