Saturday, October 17, 2009

Positively Misunderstood

Last week, one of John Stewart's guests on the Daily Show authored a book regarding the negative impact of positivity. I know it sounds like an oxymoron, but I was curious as to the reason this topic was felt to be relevant enough to write a book, so I watched and listened.

As it turned out, the author, who happens to be a breast cancer survivor had people in her life tell her to keep a bright outlook through her experience of cancer. My reaction was one of misguided.....regarding those that may have wanted to support the author with a positive outlook, without being aware of what she really needed at that time, and the author for now condemning the big picture of positive thought based on her experience of misguided positive supporters.

Being an unconditional advocate for joy and inner peace, it is my personal objective to meet all that comes along in my life without resistance, thus with peaceful acceptance rather than fear. Sometimes I succeed, like when I was diagnosed with cancer, and sometimes I fail. When I fail to see anything to be "happy" about, I cannot be convinced. What I need is to move through the emotions at my own pace.

What appears to have occurred in the experience of the author interviewed was that of being unheard or seen in a time of what was most likely very difficult, tainted her overall opinion of positive thought. What has created a negative response in this woman's case was of being drilled with positivity when what she truly needed was to be understood for what she actually was feeling.

Confused to be reading that last statement from the Queen of positive perspectives? Let me explain. What is true for any one of us in any given moment is what is "true". In other words, how we feel is what is true (at least in that moment). To have someone that does not feel the same "truth" try to cover up our "truth" with a sugar coating in the form of an invitation to "be happy", doesn't work.

So, how does someone who chooses to see the silver linings in life's clouds, interact with the rest of the world? For starters, be empathetic with the other person in a negative state of mind. Imagine what they may be feeling....In fact, ask them what they're feeling. It is not any one's job to convince someone to feel a different way, but rather to allow people to have their own emotional experience. By the same token, someone feeling peace in a situation that others do not, is not a reason to sell out on peace and be angry or depressed and match the majority.

As for those that agree with the author that positive thought is just plain harmful, I encourage you to look beyond the misplaced intentions of those that step on toes with positive speak. Positive thought can only be swallowed if you truly desire it and are ready to swallow it.

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