The Perils of Positive Thinking by Emily Sturgill, August 7,2014.

The Perils of Positive Thinking
An Essay by Emily Sturgill, August 7,2014.

There is something I wish to address.
It has come to my attention, quite a long time ago-that there is a trend in Self-Help to focus on positive thinking. While in some ways, I feel it is helpful to do so-in other ways, I believe it can actually become quite harmful.
To count ones blessings and practice gratitude is very vital to our personal well-being. That being said, however, to go overboard and attempt to try to repress any sort of negativity in my eyes is dangerous. As human beings we all have both good and bad days. To focus all on one and ignore the other throws our lives into a state of imbalance. For years, I have tried very desperately to find the random happy thought and banish all my negative thoughts. Not only is this completely futile but it is potentially dangerous as well.
To bottle up emotions we don’t “like”-to deny or suppress certain feelings like
Anger, Depression, Sadness, Grief, Envy or Jealousy is a really bad idea.
A far better approach is to acknowledge these feelings and work through the issues which arise. I am not suggesting to focus entirely on negative thinking either. Rather my suggestion is to acknowledge both the good and the bad.Do not ever beat yourself up for having a Bad Day or having negative thinking. Instead acknowledge these thoughts and then move on.
To be a well adjusted and balanced person you should be able to deal with both sides of the coin. In Life as with everything else, there is both good and bad. To deny one half exists not only leads to regression but also a half-lived life. To know Joy one must also know Sorrow but you do not have to be Sorrowful all the time. Just as its impossible to be Joyful at all times. I am not an expert on this or anything else really. And these things I write about, I struggle with them too. But beating myself up over any and all negative thoughts causes a chain-reaction. This reaction will actually increase-if not doubles-my negative thoughts and that makes me feel a whole lot worse.
I’m not saying to stop dreaming good things or to stop searching for the silver lining in our darkest clouds. But at least acknowledge that the dark cloud does in fact exist and maybe even serves a higher purpose.If we don’t allow ourselves to ever experience the darkness how will we tell the difference when the Sun does come out? If you never have pain how can you realize the joys of pleasure? It’s silly for me to admit that yes, I too have tried and struggled to only be “positive.” It backfires badly in my own life and experience.I tend to get stuck with many negative feelings that I am unable to express and then they build up like an inner time-bomb.
There is really no need for this. Equilibrium is really the thing which I seek-an inner compass of Ying and Yang.If your having a Bad Day, please allow that because you never know tomorrow maybe better-even a Good Day!!! We all have ups and downs BUT to focus merely on one or the other is a dangerous unnatural type of Spiral. And on the other hand if you are having a Good Day, please allow that too, because tomorrow might just suck.
If this is too simplistic and you disagree with me-so be it.It is only the Ravings and Ramblings of a potential Crazy-person.But if any of this makes sense please heed my advice,
Seek the Ying and the Yang! Enjoy a Full Life!!!
Sincerely, Emily


“One watches the gathering and says to any cold onlookers,This dance is the joy of existence.I am filled with you. skin, blood,bone,brain, and soul. There’s no room for lack of trust, or trust. Nothing in this existence but that existence.” Excerpt from Rumi,”We Three.” poem.

4 thoughts on “The Perils of Positive Thinking by Emily Sturgill, August 7,2014.

  1. Bravo Emily! Very well articulated, I think the “positive attitude” is important (especially in a professional or work setting) but accepting the bad times with the good invites balance, stability, and realistic thinking for sure! How did I miss this post? I don’t remember seeing it.

    • Thank you so much! Yes many friends and family emphasis looking on the positive side of things. But this frustrates me, when they choose to deny, discount or negate anything negative. Personally, I find it impossible and unrealistic to be 100% positive constantly. Also I think life does have both good and bad. I feel equal attention should be given to both, not to focus only on one or another. It puts too much pressure on people to only “feel good” or be positive. For some especially, those who suffer from depression or other mood disorders…its just impossible to be “Up” all the time. Just my humble opinion of course…:)

  2. I loved your essay and shared it on my Timeline, though I’m not sure if people can see it. I have thought of the psychology of positivity so much, but couldn’t quite embrace the entire picture either. I have friends and family members who are huge on this, and never allow negative expression.. which, is as you point out.. not very realistic.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s