“Just smile and be happy!”
We hear these words so much from friends with good intentions. But truth be told, as far as I am concerned, these words are irritating. I have grown to hate these words sometimes, hate them with such fire that I refuse to be cheerful out of spite. Why, you might ask?
Well, these words mean nothing to me, they cannot make me feel better when I am so lost in the dark recesses of my soul. Sometimes I just want to be left there to learn to fight my way out. These cheerful words just remind me of how difficult it is to be happy at times.
Why this doesn’t work
Positive thinking works for some people, but not for others. I believe the main reason it does not work is because it’s just too hard to do. While you are pressuring yourself to think about butterflies and rainbows, you aren’t really finding a relaxing place in your mind. It takes constant work to keep from slipping into the dark side. This is work that can raise your blood pressure and cause headaches. Trust me, I’ve been there/done that.
Positive thinking also demands that the first plan is the only plan. Many people who live by this positive thinking motivation refuse to prepare a “Plan B”. So when “Plan A” falls through, and it does from time to time, there will be no safety net for the positive thinker. And when this said plan falls through, will the positive thinking be able to remain positive? Even if they do, it will take stress to keep the mind in line with that wonderful la de da thinking. Catch my drift?
It gets worse
You must be prepared for negative outcomes! Yes, people, negative things happen and they will continue to happen. No amount of positive thinking will wipe the face of the planet from negative events or situations! Get a grip on reality! The more you force yourself to drive that positive feeling inside, the worse you will feel. With mood disorders, such as Bipolar Mania, on the other hand, positive thinking can reach new heights. This type of positive thinking however, can be heightened to extremes causing dangerous situations, such as automobile accidents and drug use. I exaggerate not!
Psychiatrist, Mark Banschick, M.D. said,
“Too much positive thinking can be a sign of a mood disorder.”
Of course positive thinking isn’t always due to mental disorders, but it can lead to negative outcomes. I bet you’ve never heard that before. When positive thinking is forced, there is no space given to problem solving because, according to the positive thinking, problems just won’t happen. Now that’s farfetched.
Even a small amount of anxiety if normal. A bit of “good stress” is sometimes necessary to create motivation, and with this motivation, things get done.
Why negativity works!
A little negativity works wonders, actually. Notice I said “a little”, so don’t go and get carried away with that darkness of yours. A negative attitude has been able to produce great persuasive arguments in some people. Negative thinking forces us to think more carefully about decisions as well.
There’s another common factor among the pessimists. It seems that pessimism helps us to have low expectations about people or situations, so we are thinking the worst while hoping for a better outcome. While hoping for the positive outcome within the negative format of our life, we can work extra hard to eliminate the dark underbelly of what “may happen.”
Recognizing negative emotions so they can pass through and out of us is the best way to stay calm. Denial of negative feelings, and fortifying positive attitudes can sometimes feel like a block. Deep within, you know how you feel and covering it up only magnifies the dark. There is actually a therapy entitled Acceptance and Commitment therapy, which helps us to accept the negative thoughts and deal with them properly.
This is what I’m saying
I’m not saying it’s good to be negative all the time, or that living in darkness is preferred. What I am saying is that denying what you feel can be detrimental to your life. There is no reason why any thought, feeling or word should remain locked inside. It is never good to hold back regardless as to how others feel about things. Let those thoughts come, even ponder them for a moment, then build your strategy for better.
Maybe it’s time we stopped forcing ourselves to “smile and be happy”, and just take life as it comes to us.
Sherrie Lee Hurd, Truth Inside Of You.