The Positivity Project

Avery Tuttle
The Positivity Project

The Positivity Project. You talk too much. You’re too loud. Why don’t you ever talk? Try losing weight. You’d be so much prettier if you lost weight. Why aren’t you eating? You’re too thin; you should try eating more. You’re too unathletic; you should try working out. Why are you always at the gym? Try smiling more, you don’t want to seem depressed. Are you sad, or do you want attention? These are the social norms teens face. Always about what you can do better and never about being content with who you are. Isn’t our generation supposed to be all-inclusive and promote who you are? Well, if that was true then, why do I get criticized for simply being myself? 

Today’s society prides itself on promoting equality, body positivity, and being true to who you are. Yet, with every positive comment, there is a contradicting one right behind it. Think back to a time when you have felt most confident. What led you to feel this way? Was it something someone said? Now think back to a time when you felt most insecure. What led you to feel this way? Was it something someone said? Now think about which one stuck with you most. Was it the positive one or the negative one? As a 17-year old girl, I have experienced the outcome of the power of words. I have firsthand encountered rehabilitation, but also the destruction words have. Robin Sharma says, “Words can inspire. And Words can destroy. Choose yours well.” We all have power over what we speak. That power can be used or abused. We have a choice to make. 

How are you choosing to use your voice? Research says the average person speaks 7,000 words in a day. Only 20% of those are positive. 30% are neutral, and 50% are negative. What would happen if collectively we decided to switch the statistics. What is stopping us from making 50% of our words positive? We can start by simply giving a compliment. The average person gives about five genuine compliments a day. I would bet that a majority of teens give less. I know from personal experience I don’t give five compliments every day. So I’m willing to say that neither does the average high schooler. What if we collectively decided to give out more than just five compliments a day? What would happen if we gave people more compliments and allowed them to be more confident? We have the responsibility to choose kindness, so why don’t we? Why do we instead allow ourselves to become restrained by the perception of others? 

Don’t care what they say is a phrase easier said than done, but what if it didn’t have to be? Research shows the average person receives 5-7 genuine compliments daily. A recent trend floating around the tik-to community demonstrated just how many compliments people get day by day. This trend showcased teens going through the week and sharing how many compliments they get in a week. Looking at this trend, I expected to be jealous of the number of compliments others were getting, but I was quickly proven wrong. Overall, the majority showed no more than seven total for the whole week, with many showing less. Daily, I saw no more than two or 3. Saddened by this, I kept scrolling through the videos. Time after time I encountered most people saying they got 0-3 compliments a day. I found myself questioning how come we don’t give compliments anymore. Why has positivity become barren in this generation? 

Positivity is like food for the soul. Starve yourself of it, and you become drained, but fill yourself with it to become empowered. As a teen, it is hard to stay positive when life hits. It is easy to stay in a rut of negativity. It is easy to seep into insecurity and let’s face it, we all are insecure. We all care about what others think, no matter how hard we try not to. We all seek validation from our peers. We all desire to be loved and told that someone cares about us. We all want compliments. So, what is stopping you from being that person that goes out and gives others the validation we all seek. Since when did it become embarrassing to be kind and spread positivity? The word, permeating means to sink deep into every crevice of something. As you walk through this next week, let positivity permeate through you. Take that step and see where it takes you because I guarantee that it will change you.