Where I stand on “positive thinking.”

While its important not to let false negative thinking totally devour our spirit. The urge to think positively does have a very dark side. This post speaks eloquently to that truth.

Lucky Otters Haven

positive_thinking_problem
Positive thinking taken to extremes is deluded thinking.

I’ve seen several blog posts about the problem of forced positive thinking lately, and since this is an issue that has concerned me for a long time, I thought I’d add my own take on it.

In recent years, there’s been an increased societal pressure toward “positive thinking.” I think two factors have led to this trend–the New Age philosophy that we can “be as gods ourselves,” and the continued glorification of the Reaganistic optimism of the 1980s. The signs are everywhere, in self-help and pop psychology books, in countless popular slogans and memes that appear on bumper stickers and coffee mugs, on motivational posters, on calendars, on the political campaign trail, and all over social media such as Facebook. The forced positive thinking brigade has even infiltrated churches. Motivational speakers like Tony Robbins and preachers of the “Prosperity Gospel” like Joel…

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2 thoughts on “Where I stand on “positive thinking.”

  1. I read the original post and really liked it. Couldn’t comment there so thanks for sharing. I agree with a lot of the ideas in the post, many seem to be losing or lacking the ability to use empathy. For myself, this reminded me of a therapy session long ago in which I told my therapist how I was struggling with trying to say daily affirmations (which I was told to do because I was focusing on too many negative thoughts). She helped me understand that I don’t need to try to force myself to say something that doesn’t seem and probably isn’t true for me at that particular time. For example, I can’t wake up and tell myself that “today I am going to be happy” when I feel completely unhappy. That is when I started learning about letting my emotions be, acknowledging them, rather than fighting them. And recognizing that they are temporary, just as every other emotion is temporary. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t value in positive thinking. It just means that there are times when are simply not feeling positive. Thanks for sharing

    1. Yes totally agree with all of that. The best thing on this I read was a chapter in Gabor Mate’s book When The Body Says No. He speaks of how being forced to be positive about abuse or painful experiences turns the body against us because we aren’t admitting to the truth in our cells. This admission is different to focusing in in a negative way by telling ourselves things like, I am stupid or hopeless and or totally lost and I will never heal.
      Another great thing I read by Paul Ferrini is that its best to own up to when we feel negative and give ourselves love and affirmations. If we were abused or treated with lack of empathy its natural we would feel pain and hurt or anger. But what we do with those feelings is so important. Thanks so much for commenting 🙂

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