the problem with good vibes only

no more good vibes only, i got your back


The good vibes only mantra may very well be suffocating us all. The battle cry of happiness and cheerfulness is understandable but leaves no room for growth.

But first, un petit disclaimer:

I believe if you look for the goodness in the world, you’ll find it.

I believe what you focus on, expands.

I believe your mindset is your mood.

I believe you can do anything you set your mind to.

I believe in the power of intention.

I believe in you.

I believe there's more goodness than meanness in the world; meanness is just louder.


I believe pretending everything is perfect and wonderful is sort of like the song “Everything is Awesome” in The Lego Movie. The pretending works short-term but becomes delusional after a while. Because I strongly believe that, in order to grow, you need to take a long look at yourself. You need to take an unwavering look at your life (the good and the bad) in order to change it.


I believe it’s offensive to imply most people need to shut up about their problems because it brings the listener down. The profound sadness which exists in the world...the rapes, murders, incest, robberies, backstabbing, racism, homophobia, misogyny, and xenophobia? There are people starving in the world. People living in war zones. People who have no access to clean water, children who work in sweatshops, people who are suffering from elder abuse. Can you look those victims in the eye and tell them to fix their vibe? Because I can’t. I won’t. It’s too cruel.


Believe me, I’ve seen people do it. I’ve seen a group of people lecture a woman that she must have manifested her chronic illness. I’ve overheard a man tell his struggling friend that, he worried too much about money...and that was why he wasn’t making much. I’ve watched as a woman, who was talking about a troublesome co-worker (whom she did not hire), was told she most likely brought this person into her life for a reason. I’ve seen people imply that the poor stayed poor because they didn’t believe in themselves. While mentioning nothing about how the American economic system is designed to keep the poor…poor. While not offering ways to inspire, or educate. Only to illuminate their successes vs. their perception of the poor’s failures.


I believe the people who tell you they became wealthy and successful after fixing their vibe are only telling you part of their story. Because they had a positive outlook, yes. They set their intention, yes. But they worked their asses off at the beginning. They had to ask the hard questions of themselves. The questions no one else but they could answer. They worked when you were sleeping. They worked when you were opening presents on Christmas morning. They maybe had a skill set that was desperately needed in the market. They knew how to leverage that skill. And maybe, once or twice, luck happened. Coincidence, kismet, chance...whatever you want to call it. But they were ready for it, and made the most of their opportunity.


I believe that, when taken to the extreme, good vibes only breeds narcissism. Because I believe we are all in this life together. And if my vibe instructs me to ignore what is sad, or frustrating, or impossible, or maddening, then global change about the important issues would never, ever happen. I believe it’s the equivalent of putting your hands over your ears and saying, “NAH-NAH-NAH-NAH...I CAN’T HEAR YOU.” Because you can’t live like that forever.



I believe when you deliberately ignore the negative, you give it more power. (Click to Tweet)

I believe if you feel you can’t express an emotion, it grabs on to your psyche even harder.


I believe when you bury your feelings like a dog buries a bone, it will resurface every time it rains. I believe if you try to re-bury and re-bury those bones they become stronger, and the little whispers of insecurity become a full-fledged monster yelling in your ear.


I believe the only way to get rid of these personal demons is to look them straight in the eye, and scream YOUR name with everything you have. Scream from a place deep inside of you, and never even knew was there. Scream, and watch it scurry away.

And I believe that before it can get away, you catch it, and roast it like a marshmallow over a campfire. And I believe you should devour those demons, while knowing exactly what it is you’re eating.

I believe when you can digest who you are and what you are capable of at your darkest moments, is when the self-work can truly begin.

decent vibes

I believe, like the poet Dylan Thomas, I believe that in each of us, there lies a poet and a madman. I believe each is standing sentry at our psyche.

I believe to know this, to truly know it, is to know your vibe, and use it well.

I believe that while your mindset makes your mood, your thoughtfulness makes your legacy.

I believe I don’t want my legacy to be one of telling others to push their feelings aside. I would rather tell them to explore what those feelings mean, where they are coming from and how to look themselves in the eye. And not be afraid.

I believe I don’t want to be the person who makes other people feel bad...for feeling bad.

I believe that would be the equivalent of kicking someone when they are down.

I believe I won’t do that.



photos (in order): Stephanie Tillman, Hoops & Hooks, and Lauren Singleton, all via Etsy