So I wanted to go back to this. I mentioned it in passing, but it’s a bit stuck in my brain gears.
Remember Dostoyevsky’s polar bear from the other day? I wondered if trying not to think negative thoughts works in much the same way as not thinking about polar bears.
Trying to increase your positive thoughts can be done, but the risk is that in focussing your attention on making sure your thoughts are positive, all you will be doing is giving extra head space to the negative. Just noticing the negative thoughts to redirect them is a risk of turning them into ever present polar bears in your mind.
So if you are a positivity junkie, all of your efforts might be for nothing. In fact, you might actually be setting yourself up for more negativity.
It probably seems like I live on self help books, but I don’t. I buy more than I read, and I don’t buy many. The very few I do actually manage to read tend to be more anti-self help and positivity. Positivity for smart asses. I did try to read Eckhart Tolle, but my response was a feeling of wishing to rip his obtuse head off his body. Not positive at all. I didn’t even make it halfway through “The Power of Now.”
And I actually do like the whole idea of being in the present and being mostly positive. But..but..oh, I am a sarcastic, cynical being at heart. Pollyanna is not my core identity. I gotta be me. Etc. My rational mind will not embrace the idea that everything is good. It isn’t. Mostly? Yes.
That being said, there’s obviously a huge space between dwelling on the negative to the exclusion of every positive aspect of a situation and only seeing the positive no matter how bad a situation is.
So I can look for opportunities to see good in a bad situation without going nuts about it. There’s a big difference between saying “too bad the picnic got rained out, but we ate at a great pub instead” and “my boyfriend beat the crap out of me and broke my arm, but look how pretty the flowers are that he bought me. ”
Rationally positive vs delusional.
Which really has nothing to do with what I started talking about in the first place, but did it mention that focus has been a problem lately?
Let’s just say that there are a lot of things that make being positive a challenge for me, and now I have invented polar bears as yet another one. I like polar bears, so it’s OK.
Plus, standing next to a polar bear is really slimming. Until it eats you.