I’m a pretty happy-go-lucky person and I also deal with depression. I know both sides of the coin, how it feels when everything is amazing and how it feels when everything sucks.
Even when it sucks… 100% of the time it gets better.
That’s positive thinking for ya. It may take a little while, but it works. I’ve run into people that think that positive thinking, affirmations, that kind of thing, is just so fluffy bunny. Which basically means you’re all airy-fairy, head in the clouds, nonsensical kind of person.
Some of the critics even think that positive thinking is dangerous because it makes you break from reality and it gives you unrealistic expectations about life. If you wish hard enough for a pink fluffy unicorn, and a castle in the sky, and lots of money, then gosh darn it, it’s going to happen and if it doesn’t happen then poor you, that’s going to crush you and destroy your life, no more positive thinking, it’s dangerous!
Positive thinking has to be based in reality.
I think that’s where the misconceptions come into play. We’re not all sunshine and lollipops all of the time. There needs to be some level of self awareness when it comes to positive thinking. You have to know when it’s time to do shadow work, and dig deep into the sucky stuff, and you have to know when it’s time to let the crappy stuff go and focus on the positive.
Imagine that you had someone following you around all of the time telling you how much everything in your life sucked, how much you sucked, how nothing was ever going to go right so it was pointless to even try. How would that help you? How would that be nourishing? It might open your eyes to something that you needed to change or work on, but at the same time if it goes on day in and day out it’s going to break you down.
Now imagine the opposite. you have your own personal cheerleader following you around telling you how everything is awesome, and you can do anything, and life is just fantastic. Now that’s a little bit nicer, right? But what if this cheerleader tells you that you just have to believe anything and it will happen? Believe that you can have all the money in the world and it’s yours if you just believe. You don’t have to work for it, just want it bad enough. Do you see where the dissonance happens?
Positive thinking is the bridge between what is and what can be. You have to seek balance.
It’s based on believing in yourself and your abilities in a realistic way but in a way that also looks on the bright side. It’s about having faith in yourself and giving yourself a pep-talk. Positive thinking gives you the space to quiet the doubts so that you can see what you’re really made of. It’s the umbrella that stops you from getting soaked by the rain, even though sometimes you have to cast it aside and get a little wet.
Know what you’re capable of, and also believe that you might be capable of a whole lot more!
What are your opinions on positive thinking? Do you think it’s a load of hokum, as Sheldon Cooper would say? Or do you find that it works for you and your life?
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Thank you for such an insightful post. I've received many strange looks when I tell folks that I try to be upbeat and positive, but that I too suffer from depression. Many folks see that as an impossible concept. It's definitely not about being fluffy or unrealistic, it's all about focusing on the good (and there is always SOMETHING good, even if it's not easy to see at first) and overcoming the negative. Positive thinking doesn't make it all better, but it changes ones perspective and makes the dark times more bearable. Life is full of choices and one of the most important choices all of us face everyday is how we choose to view and deal with it.
To me, that's what living positive or mindful is all about…taking what life throws at you and making the best of it. The glass is neither truly half-full, nor half-empty, but there is always space for you to fill it up with the energy you choose.
Thanks again, Dominee. As always, you are awesome!
positive thinking is something I've always done since I was a girl, I learned it from my mom. It has been a handy tool that has kept me sane and not going dark side especially when things in my life got bumpy. It is easier to give in and get angry and jaded. It takes real strength to stay upbeat and find the sunshine when cloudy days come.
That is so true! Letting everything get to you is definitely the path of least resistance and it takes a lot of strength not to let life get you down sometimes.
I couldn't have said it better myself! I think those of us that suffer from depression don't take happiness for granted as much and that in itself is a gift.