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  • Fe Robinson

Positive thinking only works when it's grounded in the whole

There are so many times when you hear 'positive thinking' being used as a way to shut out, minimise, deny or avoid uncomfortable truths. It can sometimes seem as if being positive is what is acceptable, and anything that does not come across as cheery or upbeat is somehow shameful or not allowed.

This is a dangerous way to live. It is not controversial to point out that living is at times A messy, upsetting business. Things go wrong. Jobs are lost. Relationships can be diffuclt and end. Money can be short. People get ill. We all die. These are realities, and we ignore them at our peril.

Gabor Mate eloquently outlines the perils of one sided thinking. When we repress and deny parts of our reality, we force our body to find other ways to express them and to make us listen. It is unsurprising then that there are strong connections between various serious illnesses and personality patterns, including those of people pleasing, never stopping, ignoring our own needs, and repressing anger and other emotions.

We are whole. We have light, and shade. There are positives, and there are challenges and difficulties. For every up there is a down. When we ground our positivity in a full, realistic acceptance of the whole situation in which we find ourselves, then positivity can be a force for good in our lives.

When we really dare to look and truly see what it is that is happening, paths open up and options become apparent. When we see only small parts of what is happening, we run the risk of the unseen underside of the iceberg ripping through our fragility and creating crises of body and mind.

I know it can be hard to look and listen. Harder still to see and hear that which we would rather avoid. And yet, there is a more difficult path still to tread if we deny and avoid ourselves and naively open up only to that which is palatable and seems attractive.

Take some time this week to sit still and honestly be with what is happening. All of it. If it feels too much, reach out to those who can help you face it. If additional help is needed, professional psychotherapists are here to help you endure. There is not only shade, and it need not consume you, nor go on forever. Like anything, pain passes, and in time and with healing the light can once again be seen.


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