It’s a common Newer-Agey Self-Helpy subject that says we should always be thinking positive. That nothing “bad” will happen to us if we just have the right mindset. Although this is true. Your perception DOES make your reality and in no way am I discouraging positive thinking, however, positive thinking abandons a part of you that is just as much you, just as much true, as your negative thinking and negative thoughts. Things we label as “bad” like being sad, angry, or having negative thoughts about ourselves are seen as unacceptable and we must change them into “good” thoughts or “happy” thoughts in order to live a better more-fulfilling life.
If you are crying, you are obviously sad (or so happy that you’re crying, but we’ll pick sad for this explanation) and if I were to come up to you and ask you “Hey how are you feeling?” and you answer “I am so happy, this is the best day ever! 😊” – are you truly doing yourself a favor by ignoring the raw emotion you are feeling in that exact moment by masking it into something that is not true? Let’s say I don’t even ask you that question. Let’s say you’re crying your eyes out in sadness and you keep telling yourself “I am so happy, this is the best day ever! 😊” would this not be the same lie that you told me, only you’re telling this to yourself? Now, you not only have the mask that you wear towards the outside world, but you have also created a mask within your own self as well. And deep down, somewhere, it doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t feel right to deny it.
Not to mention the fact that you have now “employed” a tactic of positivity in order to attempt to change your outside circumstances in order to make you “happy”, to which positivity is inauthentic and not in alignment with what you are in that moment, and you are expecting something outside of you to change in order to make you “happy.” (I realize that may sound contradictory to some) This is one of the bigger issues, I feel, with this kind of stuff. We try and utilize the “power of positivity” in order to change our outward circumstances which we then expect it to change our inner circumstances. This is not the case.
The positive cannot live without the negative and vise versa. In the end, everything just “is” until you choose to label something as “good” or “bad” or positive/negative. As humans, we naturally label events, or other things in our lives, as positive or negative. It’s a part of who we are as humans. In truth, positive and negative only exist in the mind. Despite this truth, the positive and negative are a part of who we are. Why deny this to ourselves?
How authentic are we living if we do not recognize the negative, express it without judgment, and live in our truth?
When negative thinking causes suffering, this is where it can change. Picture this: you find yourself in a sad moment. And you decide to take that moment in time and re-live that moment over and over and over and over and over and over and over again, then you enter suffering. When you bring that past negativity into the present in thought, you cause suffering. Suffering doesn’t live in the present moment. Suffering originates in the past and is brought into your future based on that past! Negativity, pain, it is all a part of human life, and to deny your emotions, your feeling, in any exact moment would be to deny a part of your existence in that very moment. And when it is time to bring yourself out of it, it will feel right to you, you will feel in alignment with your heart, with your body. It won’t feel like you are going against yourself. And, in order to change something, it first has to be recognized for what it is in the first place.
What can happen when you’re going against yourself, you will try to turn the negative into the positive is, if you fail – you have yet another reason to beat yourself up even more than you may have already been. And so the cycle continues, but this time, the thought process is harder to reach, it’s harder to expose because it’s now been covered up with another thought process.
Let’s say I’m beating myself up because I tell myself “I suck at life”. So now I’m going to try and force positive thoughts and negate it by saying “I don’t suck at life” – but it doesn’t make me feel any better about myself, even though I know that I don’t suck at life. So, then, what I do because I have yet again – “sucked at life” – and failed to turn the negative into the positive is now, I have yet another reason to tell myself “I suck at life” because “I failed to turn the negative into a positive.” But now this is harder to detect because with that positive thinking I have a thought process that now I am doing the “positive thinking” strategy in order to try and make my life better and to not “suck at life” and I don’t even see that the same thing is happening there too! “Suck at life” is still sucking my life! This is especially true if you do not trust yourself.
The power of positivity is a strong one. BUT there is a difference between authentic positivity and inauthentic positivity – this is where the difference is.