THE DANGEROUS TRAP OF POSITIVE THINKING!

Power of positive thinking has been well accepted and to some extent over rated and exaggerated to the point that a lot of times it leads people to more suppression’s and repression’s as well as disassociations

I often times meet clients who have a host of physical issues – lot of them psychosomatic and yet who insist they have been very positive thinkers, their life has been like a fairy tale and their childhood has been nothing less than a wonderland. Then how come the body has manifested so much of illness and why??

The answer lies in the fact that mind likes to believe what is easier to believe and mind is very good at repressing painful memories and creating false positive memories – sometimes for the sole purpose of survival and sometimes because that is the most acceptable way of being by the society and environment , I.e – positive!!

When we always try to be positive we are avoiding accepting the negatives in us or our environment – which in turn either makes us live in denial or disassociation. It is common human trait to be angry, frustrated or sad due to various reasons. But if a child is made to believe that he/ she will be loved or accepted only if he / she is always happy, forgiving, easy going and positive, or that he/she will be abandoned or rejected by being angry, sad or frustrated then the child learns to suppress all these negative emotions and pretend to be happy and cheerful – at a very early age. The anger sadness or frustration is all either pushed away (often emerges later in life as anxiety, OCD, fears, phobias or other physiological disorders) or is numbed by the child. As an adult these emotions or related incidences are never remembered in conscious memory and as adults they come to a therapists and recall very happy positive and wonderful childhoods!

We as therapists need to be vary of stories that seem too good to be true and have yet ended up in physical or emotional imbalances for the adult client in front of us! It is harder working with these clients as they struggle to find out the causes of their issues and they don’t realise that it is their own coping / defence mechanisms that are blocking them from identifying the real reasons for this discomfort and ill health!

If in the growing up years a child has lived with a sibling who is angry and attention seeking, the child will do his/her best to be accommodating, nurturing and quiet – for the sake of balance in the family or to be more acceptable to the stressed out parents. This child will learn early on to suppress all signs of unaccepted behaviour (that his/her sibling is demonstrating and causing stress to the family system) and will always try to be either over nurturing, accommodating or will simply emotionally disappear (numbed out) . He or she will only recollect the happy and more acceptable memories and the painful moments of feeling alone or neglected by the parents will be successfully suppressed and forgotten. This definitely helps the child to survive and cope during those years but surely never helps in the long run because these negative emotions don’t go anywhere – they are energies and they stay, accumulate and eventually show up in other more acceptable forms like diseases or emotional imbalances!

Clients who smile when they talk about their pains and aches are also trying to be positive but for a therapist it’s a red signal indicating suppressions. It’s almost a reflex for them- totally unconscious. Yet we know that when children are born they have no capacity to hide their feelings. If an infant is uncomfortable or unhappy he/she will cry, show sadness or express anger and rage. Anything we do to hide pain or sadness is an acquired response. It is required at some times in certain circumstances but so many of us do it al the time and then it becomes our Automatic response – and it gets encouraged by others under the label of “being positive” “being the happy child” or being “always good kid”- again reinforcing the suppression of the negative emotions

Often times we are told to forget our own pain by taking care of other people’s emotional needs – thereby minimising our own problems and issues. Again a great tool for positive thinking propagators but again leading to suppressing and denial of our own pain sadness or anger. This attitude makes them people pleaser’s – forever taking care of others at the cost of own well-being

Developing the courage to think negatively allows us to look at ourselves as we really are. Peoples coping styles that include repression of anger, denial of vulnerability and the compensatory hyper independence have a strong correlation to auto immune diseases! Negative thinking helps us to accept and understand our environment and circumstances better and how they shaped our life and perceptions

“Emotionally draining family relationships have been identified as risk factors in virtually every category of major illness- from degenerative neurological conditions to cancer and auto immune diseases. The purpose is not to blame parents or previous generations or spouses , but to enable us to discard beliefs that have proved dangerous to our health. The power of negative thinking requires the removal of rose coloured glasses. Not the blame of others but owning responsibility for ones (health and) relationships is the key“ – Gabor Mate, MD in his book When Body Says No.

The best way again is Balance – accepting that negative exists as much as the positive. Accepting the negative in us as much as the positive is the sure shot way to live happier and healthier lives. Denial or over emphasising either one doesn’t help. Earth experience is all about experiencing both the polarities and striving to seek balance within that!

Ririi Trivedi

Personal Transformation Therapist and Regression therapist (Inner Child and Past Life Regression)
www.wellness-space.net