Get Out of Town!


This is the sign on the door of a local business near my house. The first time I saw it, I immediately thought, well, I guess I’ll never be going in there. 

Now, it’s not that I support negativity. We’ve all encountered that negative person, who just always seems to make your day a little worse. Those people are unpleasant. I don’t want to be one of those people.

It’s just that I don’t like a store forcing its customers to have a particular emotion. Because even if I don’t support negativity, I also don’t support forced positivity. This sign is everybody who’s  ever told me to smile or to get over it. This business—and all those people—don’t get to tell me how to feel.

And yes, I realize I am reading too much into a store sign that was just meant to be cute and fun. I’m guessing the business wouldn’t invoke the we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone rule just because a customer didn’t smile.

It’s just that something about this sign rubs me the wrong way. Not every day is a day for smiling. It’s okay to be sad. Did you see the movie Inside Out? One of the central messages of that movie is that it’s okay to feel and acknowledge any emotion. Or, as the Pretenders said, if you’re mad, get mad. 

Simply put, it’s stupid to fake positivity. While I’m sure plastering on a smile for the brief duration of your visit to this store isn’t going to kill you, in general it’s quite hurtful to deny negative emotions. And as we come to the home stretch of a season of forced-positivity events, a lot of us are growing weary. Denying your emotions is a recipe for disaster.

So don’t tell me how to feel.

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