Some people are starting to complain about the rise of positive thinking, optimism and affirmations. They say that too much value is being given to that new approach to life and that being too positive or optimistic can even result in damage, pain or hurt. They defend that people are fooling themselves.
In a sense, I agree with them. My personal belief is that real optimism goes hand in hand with common sense and thinking. Positive thinking can’t truly be that unless both concepts are applied at the same time. Being just positive and not assessing the situations one faces in life is, to me, being just plain thoughtless. And that’s not what we’re talking about. So when people criticise this new, positive trend, I suspect that they’re oversimplifying it a bit and just looking at the surface, at the thoughtlessness of some.
When I read the comments made by those who criticise the new, happier trends, I often see that their focus is on the motivational messages that some people use to summarise their positive thinking and not on real optimism or positive thinking as such. They question the happy-go-lucky attitude they perceive in optimists and consider there’s nothing behind it. They doubt the benefits of happier thoughts and only see the dangers they think they might bring.
For centuries, many centuries, humanity in Western, religion-guided cultures was taught to doubt happiness and to embrace pessimism as part of civilization. People were taught that we are born to suffer and bear the pain. They were told that outer happiness is a display of foolishness. Children’s natural optimism was quenched and eradicated and adult optimists were considered to be borderline crazy. Back then, those who smiled too much were frowned upon and those who laughed out loud were quickly silenced. Am I exaggerating? Maybe a bit. But not more that those who only judge the surface of today’s new outlook on life.
Today, many people advocate a different approach. They defend that we are not born to suffer but just the opposite, to be happy and enjoy life; to see events from the perspective of hope and growth. They say that laughter and happiness can cure disease and that optimism is a powerful tool.
Those who attack this new approach are attacking its extreme manifestations, just the opposite of what used to happen in the past. They might only see the thoughtlessness. They might be oversimplifying the trend. Or it might as well be that they’re still rooted in the older perspective and can’t see the good in the new one.
As human beings, we can choose. We can decide where we want to be and which approach we’d rather take. Furthermore, nobody’s forcing us to be in either end of the spectrum. There’s room for every belief. We just need to choose ours. Which one is yours?
Enjoy life… ALL of it,
Jessica J. Lockhart – humanology – www.jessicajlockhart.com
Jessica J. Lockhart is a humanologist, bestselling author and renowned international speaker. Follow her here: