The Paradox of Optimistic Thinking

It is all over the place, isn’t it? The power of constructive thinking.

It is a magic tablet that will remedy all of our issues, it appears to say, from mental health, to cash problems, physical well being and life-style habits. We’re told to, “Look on the bright side,” “Think positively,” “Domesticate gratitude,”…

While these might be useful to assist us correct gross imbalances of negativity, it isn’t actually the whole reply to a life properly-lived.

Don’t get me wrong. I had jumped on the “constructive thinking,” law of attraction lifestyle theory bandwagon along with everybody else. I frightened that dwelling on things that were upsetting or collaborating in love with life a conversation the place we only expressed negative experiences and emotions was a transgression. I felt guilty.

A Danish psychology professor at Aalborg University named Svend Brinkmann as soon as talked about this concern in an article on concerning the new cultural stigma of “being negative.”

Basically, we’re human, Brinkmann said. As such, we expertise a large range of feelings from day to day. What leads to stress is after we experience a pure reaction of sadness, frustration or anger after which censure and convince ourselves that we should only think or be “positive.”

We’ve come to equate “optimistic thinking” with emotional health. If we think more positively, we think that we will keep away from depression or never get angry or do things we are going to regret later. Or that we just won’t ever really feel or think “negatively.” All of us want to avoid the sharp sting of unhappiness.

However we have turn into so uncomfortable around folks experiencing concern, loss, loneliness, etc., that it becomes our job to assist “turn that smile upside down” – even if that person is ourselves. Because nobody wants to be round someone like that, proper? We do not need to “deliver everyone else down.”

And therein lies the seeds of our unhappiness.

Emotions are basically pure energetic reflexes, like a knee-jerk, that happen in our body in response to how our brains perceive what occurs outside (and inside) of us. We really do not have a lot control over those. Ideas then again, we’ve got complete control over.

The paradox is that in our wrestle to “think positively,” we now have begun to speak or think negatively to ourselves about our personal natural human responses to life experience. In truth, we have turned to disempowering our instinct, and placing ourselves down for “feeling” – effectively, anything other than total pleasure and happiness day in and day out.

The burden we supply round is the equation we believe there is between “thinking” positively and “feeling” happy. We have come to consider that if we’re slightly more stern with ourselves in thinking “positive,” we will wipe out feeling sad or lonely, overwhelmed or shamed.

If that hasn’t been working out too well for you, you are not alone. So think about it in this approach:

Life is a spectrum of emotions, and there’s no such thing as a constructive emotion or negative or “bad” emotion – unless we tell ourselves it’s, and undergo on account of it. And don’t fret, you are not the first particular person to fall into that trap. It seems uniquely human.

The Buddhist philosophy has lengthy studied and philosophized on the distinction between pain and suffering. Ache, they explain, is normally a bodily or emotional sting. We all have them from time to time. Struggling, on the other hand, is the angle toward or in the way you interpret the pain. To accentuate the purpose, because the famous quote from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” illustrates, “… “for there’s nothing both good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

Feeling badly just isn’t a sign that we are managing our lives badly: It merely means we are literally experiencing life. Conversely, we could be more cognizant in how we react to it.

7 July 2018


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