Friday, 30 January 2015

Little Rant about "Positive Thinking"!

All this positive thinking malarkey is well and good in it's place.

The spin-off however means that no-one can have a moment's melancholy without some-one feeling the need to put them back on track with a nice positive statement..

In my opinion, what all the positive proponents didn't predict was that this "positivity" is, in fact, a way of shutting down empathy.

No longer are friends supposed to put a hand on your arm and give you a moment's indulgence by saying.... "That's bloody rough! Is there anything I can do to help?"

Instead they feel duty bound to ensure you are left with a nice uplifting positive statement. They think they are doing the right thing with this... but as happened for a friend, it stopped the conversation in its tracks....

'Ah, just you  wait until the summer comes, you'll feel much better then.'

I've used this tactic myself when wanting to move away from discussing my health. I say something like, "Ah well better weather's coming, that should help!" .... And guess what it works! The conversation on my health is over!

So I now watch out for these "positive" statements, and recognise them for what they are... a way of boxing up problems and moving away from them in an apparently socially acceptable manner!

I guess most of us can't cope with too much reality at one time.

PS I wrote this on a Facebook group in response to a friend who found herself confronted with positive rebuttals when trying to express some of the difficulties with being ill.

14 comments:

  1. I think this is very true. There is a sanity in acknowledging that life is hard sometimes and we don't know when it will improve. it probably won't miraculously be improved by sunshine or no problems would last longer than 9 months!

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  2. There's a very fine line between positive thinking and dismissive thinking. I think i'm a very positive person but when it comes from other people I find it can be quite hurtful. We are allowed to feel down every now and then. Well done for sticking up for your friend.

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  3. Great post Sally. I'm a great believer in honest thinking. I wrote a post about it a while back which I might fish out again sometime.

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  4. Thanks for blogging about that, Sally - a reminder that those of us who are less than fully able are expected to be stoic little Pollyannas.

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  5. Thank you all for your kind comments.

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  6. Thank you! I get so tired of being told "it could be worse." I'm well aware of that, dammit, but for now let me be sad that I can't walk!!

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    1. Sending gentle hugs your way. There will always be some-one worse than each of us, but it doesn't stop us each wishing for things to be better.

      I think it's okay if I choose to say for myself that "it could be worse", but for someone in a better place to say it, is totally insensitive!

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  7. We must remember that both Positive Thinking Magazine and negative thinking is contagious. If we think and say the day is terrible, we will find many people around us saying the same thing. If we think and say the day is going to be wonderful, we will find most people around us saying the same thing.

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    1. Thank you for your thought, and I agree that a positive outlook can help the day go better.

      However this post related to how people sometimes cut a conversation short when real issues are discussed. In my view that is a positivity that is no longer helpful to the individual concerned, as it tells them that their experiences do not matter.

      Sometimes a little understanding, rather than a brush off via a suitably positive comment is more helpful.

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  8. Some people will tell you things could be worse until you drop dead. Then they won't tell you anything as they will go off and find some other unfortunate person to bother. Simple minded pop-culture indoctrinated people don't make life better.

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  9. It's also victim-blaming. "You're ill because you're thinking the wrong thoughts." Excellent blog btw.

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    Replies
    1. Yes it is that too isn't it!
      & Thanks - glad you found something useful to read here. xx

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