When is positive thinking positive?

 

Positive thinking is an extremely powerful technique to use, in order to redress the imbalance of perception in our lives. Negativity can act in a crippling manner; it can imprison the thinker in a small world, seemingly limited of choice and free will. It can stifle creativity. It can suppress courage that is much-needed to confront bad habits, in order to transform them into thoughts and actions which are in harmony with our well-being.

 

We have all heard phrases such as, “how full is a glass of beer? Half full or half empty?" It is true that there is too much negativity in the world today. I might not like it at first when the weather is atrociously wet and stormy during my free time, where I had planned to go for a bike ride. But if if I focus on the fact that I can get some chores out of the way in one fell swoop: tasks that were hanging over my head for weeks – then I can feel great about that. People lack hope, in my opinion, because they are used to either letting information that causes negative thoughts and emotions, just take effect, or they suppress negative information by switching off from reality and thus don't experience the great possibilities of transformation through confronting the problem head on and finding a solution with resolve.

 

Positive thinking can alter the belief system of the observer. If it is used effectively with visual imagery and association with positive feeling, we can actually reprogramme our subconscious into a more pleasant state. We can relieve stress, vanquish recurring nightmares, quit smoking etc.. However, it can also be used to dangerous excess. If we are fearful of negative thoughts, and want to escape from them, we will perhaps find temporary refuge with the use of positive thinking, but we are simply hiding from ourselves – that is very counter-productive.

 

We may try to do this by rationalising, rising above the negativity with pure resolve, or letting go. I believe there is a danger in trying to escape from negative thoughts. We should basically learn to live with them, as a normal part of life, but not be dominated by them. Negativity has a very useful function. It allows us to see what makes us tick. It gives us insights into our belief system, which is not always very apparent because we are not always conscious. If we can learn to face this negativity, to dive into it and find out where it's coming from – from time to time – then we can use it to our benefit and transform our lives. We can use it to become stronger. What we don't want to do is become obsessed with it, or stagnate with it.

 

Nobody really wants pain in the end, but it enlightens eventually. There is such a thing as obsessive positive thinking which stems from fear of pain. Pain is part of life, whether we like it or not, so we better get used to it and just make the most out of it. If we flee from pain – switch off from it by suppressing it, it will come back at some point through the back door, possibly many times magnified. The suppression or bottling-up of emotions always backfires eventually, in unexpected and unpredictable ways. Creating a bubble of distorted reality is not where we really want to head towards. I have experienced my greatest realisations and leaps in development via my most intense suffering. For that I am grateful – how could it have happened otherwise?

 

The implications of the suppression can manifest in any number of ways. One example to illustrate, would be how the sense of compassion is numbed, when we avoid feeling any pain whatsoever. It is certainly my experience, that when I have been through a period of suffering, I can understand others who have been to the same place and give them sympathy. This is a form of sharing pain which creates bonds and a sense of belonging between people, as long as it is eventually understood as a means to transform the suffering. If you can accept pain, you can share it with others as a learning experience. It needs to be felt, nonetheless. Without courage to confront our fear of pain, and therefore look pain straight in the eyes, we won't be up to liberate ourselves more than in a superficial, temporary way. Sometimes this process can be achieved alone, but it may need the guidance of a good therapist or other experienced healer with a solid reputation for success (that person will have to be compassionate and understanding themselves!). It all depends how far the distortion has developed. Switching off may seem like an easy option, but it becomes psychopathic if neglected. That's why so many dreadful deeds are committed in the world today, yet everything is so often accepted – described as normal, human nature, just the way of things. Don't be fooled.

 

We live in a world of seemingly endless bad news. This can be overwhelming for those who have not yet discovered that we can stay connected – instinctively, intellectually and emotionally –  with the whole network of life AND we can dive into the Abyss of Hell and come back with a new-found hope.

 

Don't be afraid of pain and fear, because we are stronger and can go beyond it. Just make sure to find outside loving help if needed. We can reach out to our brothers and sisters in distress AND dive into the ocean of positivity and good vibes.

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