“…emotions like sadness, guilt, grief and anger are beacons for our values. We don’t get angry about stuff we don’t care about. We don’t feel sad or guilty about stuff we don’t care about. If we push these emotions away, we are choosing not to learn about ourselves. We are choosing to ignore our values and what is important to us.” Source: A Harvard psychologist explains why forcing positive thinking won’t make you happy – The Washington Post
What I’m reading on Positive Thinking
Article: “A Harvard psychologist explains why forcing positive thinking won’t make you happy,” Washington Post
Article’s Key Points
- The “tyranny of positivity” is leading to a (largely) fundamentally-avoidant cultural dialogue
- Emotions are “beacons for our values,” including our sadness, guilt and anger
- Pushing away [negative] thoughts and emotions only serves to have them come back magnified
- “…emotional agility is a skill set that builds on our ability to face our emotions, label them, understand them and then choose to move forward deliberately.”
What about Law of Attraction and Positive Thinking?
In energy work, we talk a lot about the importance of positive thinking when it comes to applying the Law of Attraction (i.e. the world reflects back what we project). The idea is if we are to attract what we want, we have to project and feel what we want. A lot of folks confuse this with forcing positive thinking, and positive emotion. But there’s a huge difference between forcing positive thinking/emotion and cultivating *positivity*. This is one point I’d like to clarify from the article.
The way out is through
So many of my patients and students come in deeply desiring “to be rid of” what feels uncomfortable and unpleasant. They want to “get rid of” their anger, their sadness, their guilt, etc. When we force positive thinking in these cases, we stuff the unpleasant. Or, we dissociate from our being, so as not to feel the unpleasant. But what happens to the ‘unpleasant’ in these cases? It compounds, because it’s not being dealt with. Now we carry the weight of the last time we felt this unpleasantness, our resentment for having it at all, and the frustration of not having dealt with it already, etc. Multiply this compounding by each time this emotion or story arises. Each time we stuff part of our experience, or dissociate from it, it makes our negativity seem that much more real, and that much more insurmountable. But the good news is, you don’t have to get over it. You can move through it.
Feel the emotions, listen for the needs
In the system of Nonviolent Communication, emotions simply reflect needs being or not being met. They’re reflections, not entities. So, to cultivate positivity would be to hold in compassion where we feel sad, angry, guilty and afraid. To listen to what needs are not being met and to what values we hold dear. Through listening, we open the door to serving our values and needs. I see time and time again in Reiki sessions ‘negative’ emotions and thoughts simply dissolve when tended to with love and willingness to understand. This is Law of Attraction in action — being the embodiment of love, staying in the frequency of what you want.
Sometimes we can need support to take that first step or even to persevere in the face of discomfort. Reiki can be an excellent support on this journey in helping to create a space of unconditional love and illumination. To book your local or distance treatment today, visit Black Pine Holistic Healing’s online scheduler.