I’m told, violence is never the answer, but when you’re feeling down, anxious and worried – how would you respond to the advice, “Cheer up – it may never happen!”?
Being told to think positive (apart from its being a grammatically-sloppy sentence construction) can be not just irritating in the extreme, but as new research tells us, detrimental to our health, sometimes actually making us feel even more negative and gloomy.
But you didn’t need me to tell you that, did you!!!
Someone once told me they thought my business name was Think Positive. (It’s not. It’s Sounds Positive.)
Because thinking positive(ly) can be a mixed blessing, and while I’ll always look for the opportunity in a situation, I don’t advocate thinking positively, per se.
But looking for the good in a situation, directs the mind to look for a solution, and whether there is one or not, at least each day is more tolerable, because you’re filtering out the negative crap, in the search for the positive.
And guess what? More often than not, when you go looking for something, especially if you’re looking hard for it – you’ll find it.
If you don’t look for it?
Well, you probably won’t see it. How many times have you been caught out not seeing something right in front of your nose? (Car keys?)
That’s called negative hallucination! The opposite of seeing sommat that’s not there. Not seeing something that is.
I’ll often say to clients, who’ve come for help finding their way forward (oh the irony – I’ve got such a rubbish sense of direction!) that thinking positive has its drawbacks.
I had a friend who’d done all the self- development courses you can think of, and she was brilliant at positive thinking. So brilliant, in fact that she wasn’t paying attention to reality.
She put a positive spin on everything, and wondered why she still felt awful.
It’s because she wasn’t connecting with what was really going on around her.
My view is that the first step in changing something is to acknowledge what’s actually real.
And yes, of course it can be really painful to admit that whatever it is, really wasn’t part of the plan. We may feel disappointed, betrayed, sad, abandoned – whatever.
But unless we start from where we really are right now and the impact on us, then how are you going to find your way forward?
You can look at the oh so helpful map in any town centre. You know, the one encased in a box, with a protective glass screen.
You might identify where you want to be, but unless you press that button to switch on the light telling you where you are right now, how on earth are you going to know which way to go? Where to take that first step?
How could my friend change her life for the better unless she was prepared to admit that where she was, wasn’t where she wanted to be? And take responsibility for that. That’s to say, recognise what behaviour, beliefs, decisions etc brought her here, and make the necessary changes in herself to get better results?
So to my mind, positive thinking…?
There’s a time and a place.
So next time I’m feeling a bit down in the dumps, don’t tell me to snap out of it…
Unless you really want that smack in the teeth!
Meanwhile, research tells us (Again, really? We needed research to work this out?) that a reliable (and less risky) way to cheer up is to look at photos of cute puppies – so here you are! 🙂