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Positive Thinking Sucks – Here’s Why…

October 22, 2013

Surrendering to what is is perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of the human condition we have to cope with. It is no wonder then, that we do everything that we possibly can to avoid those feelings of helplessness and isolation that often come along with surrendering (because we then try to understand it by analysis).

The ‘Helplessness’ manifests as fear because when we truly surrender we appear to have no control over our destiny. This is often exacerbated by the mainstream PMA movement (Positive Mental Attitude, which is a contradiction in terms, but I digress…), especially if your current situation appears to be ‘Negative’.

The ‘Isolation’ results from surrendering because surrendering means being truthful about where you are in life and this is not a mainstream activity (I am saddened to write this). You will be alone with your ‘Negativity’ because the PMA movement cannot cope with it.

This sucks. Or does it?

Although hard to truly surrender, once this is done (or is forced upon us) it is actually effortless to go with the flow of our lives rather than kicking and ‘Positive’ screaming ourselves against it. If you are about to lose your home, no amount of ‘I have a nice safe home that I can easily afford’ mantras will save you (I speak from experience) but a great big go with the flow: ‘SHIT! I AM ABOUT TO LOSE MY APARTMENT THAT I’VE LIVED IN FOR 12 YEARS!! PLEASE HELP ME!!! I DON’T WANT TO BE HOMELESS!! I HAVE NO MONEY!!!!’ will most certainly result in some help in one form or another to come rushing to your aid (again, I speak from experience).

The help arrives by us not asking the Universe for what we want – but by screaming to whomever the f*** will listen that we are in the shit and would really rather not be, thank you very much.

What makes PMA much worse is that by its very process, it builds layer upon layer of expectation. When those expectations aren’t realised, the disappointment is so huge that it can actually cause psychological trauma. Expectation is just another word for pressure. By PMA-ing our way through life, we cause ourselves distress by applying mental, emotional and actual physical pressure upon our fragile human state.

Be vulnerable in your own presence and then, ‘they will come.’

When I was head-banging underneath my dining room table back in February this year, I was literally beating myself up. I was self-harming in order to relieve the internal pressure that I had piled upon myself – to let some of the steam out. It worked, I felt a lot better but what really led to true ‘recovery’ (I use that term with tongue-in-cheek, do we ever truly recover?) was my fragility and the response of other human beings to that fragility. Now… something very interesting but not that surprising – the professionals in my life who live by the Positive Mental Attitude ethos could not cope with me or my attitude at the time. Positive Thinking amounted, at that time, to lying to myself and thus was completely ineffective in changing my circumstance. The problem for them (the Positive Thinkers) is that they just didn’t have the coping strategies to help me and, perhaps more importantly, my very real state of being conflicted with their own happy-smiley approach to life. I brushed them up the wrong way simply by being me.

Have you noticed that the number one rule in PMA is to ‘avoid negative people’?

I make it a lifestyle choice to not avoid people in suffering.

What about you?

With Much Love and Realism,

Matt xx

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3 Comments
  1. In fairness and with due respect, Matt, I believe there is a considerable difference between challenging/desperate (and negative) situations and conditions and negative/draining people. The latter I choose to avoid. The former I will, at a minimum, evaluate and act upon, if I consider the case genuinely compelling and worthy of compassionate action. But I won’t simply dismiss “PMA” because I have seem it work and yield benefit, many times over. Your acknowledgment of coping strategies is, indeed, important. I get what you’re saying and for a considerable portion of it, I concur. Holding positive intentions and outcomes for you and others in this boat. From a great distance, that’s what I can offer now.

    • Thank you Eric and bless you, again!

      That has reminded me of a chat I had with a friend the other day when I said ‘It’s easy to apply PMA when it’s applied to someone elses’ life and especially when you’re life is relatively positive’. I was speaking from experience in both camps and of course perception, is projection. We do the best we can.

      Personally I don’t find ‘negative’ people draining. I find draining the people who pretend to be positive when their situation is negative and their internal response to that situation is being repressed. It literally, physically feels like a pulling at my solar plexus. I recently experienced this with someone who was being ‘upbeat’ after losing his job.

      Upbeat = Beat Up

      Interesting times ahead 🙂

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