Friday, 3 May 2013

Positive Affirmation - Really?

Okay, so I'm a bit stuck with this one and I'm struggling.  You see, I understand that we should aim to have a positive outlook on life and even when we endure hard times we should try to look for the light at the end of the tunnel, find that silver lining in the dark clouds or encourage ourselves if possible. 

I'm coming across more and more people who believe in this thing called 'Positive Affirmation'. It goes far deeper than looking on the bright side when all around you is in chaos. And it's very different from someone having a naturally positive attitude. 

I mean, people actually believe that if you continue to speak repetitive positive things 'into your life' then it will happen. Furthermore, if you write positive affirmations around your home or work then these affirmations will come true.  So in essence, if you continuously say or chant the words 'I love myself' or 'I will be successful' for a long enough period of time, then you WILL love yourself and become successful. 

Really?


Whatever floats your boat. But I get frustrated when I'm trying to have a conversation with someone who keeps constantly correcting me. I'm just trying to accurately describe what's going on and how I feel but they insist on me editing out the parts that they don't think are 'positive'. 

Here's an example. If you say ' I hate this job, I find it so boring". Mr Positive Affirmation says " Don't say that! It sounds like self pity to me. Instead you need to declare this "I love my job and find it enjoying and fulfilling". 

It's as though they believe that acknowledging that you're not happy about something actually makes it go wrong. There seems to be a modern superstition that every word casts some kind of spell, like speaking something into being. 

But what's so wrong with being real? Thinking positive in bad circumstances is one thing, but can it, by itself, get you out of the situation? And by the way, at what point do we acknowledge that all is not well? At what point does this wishful thinking become a person actually lying, to others and to themselves? 

Does all this 'Positive Affirmation' force people to walk around with a false smile on their face living in denial?

Does anyone actually know what I'm talking about? 
Have you encountered 'Positive Affirmation' yourself?
Doesn't creating such a gap between reality and what you admit impact on mental health?


I would love to hear your views, opinions or comments.

93 comments:

  1. I've been having such a crappy week. You must have been channelling my negative thought waves.

    I think there's a double yellow line between positive thinking and delusional thinking.

    Having a positive focus is important for completing a task or achieving and maintaining ones sanity.

    I'm not familiar with the positive thought cult. But I believe that in most instances, with the exception of fiction writing, reality should be an important factor in the decision making process.

    I can't imagine talking myself into loving a crappy job. Delusional positive thinkers would always be satisfied with the status quo and not try to improve themselves. If you ask me, it's a lame excuse for remaining an underachiever.

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    1. Ah Lauren, I like the thought of 'delusional positive thinkers' as it explains what I was trying to say very well. Reality is something that we should always consider in order to make healthy decisions in life. Thanks for your comment.

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  2. Ah! RPD!

    Have you ever had the following as a routine?


    After your morning shower, and breakfast, you don your helmet, your armour suit, grab your halberd, and go into the daily meleé to destroy foe's citadel and avoid they destroy yours.

    From time to time if you showed traces of fatigue, you were sent to a seminar where they taught you how to be positive, think big, know that you must kill your foes before they fledge, because if they get to the fly phase you were in trouble. Also they used to give you some bonus knowledge, such as how to hone your halberd, how to eat a hamburger without taking up the sallet, and how to look for the weakest part of the enemy (it was understood that everything out your skin was that).

    The final indoctrination was: Never, but never, think you can be defeated, think positive, you will win the highest citadel, you will be the Master of the Universe. Everything out of it is self pity, and cowardice!

    I lived some few years with this "mantra", and finally, and luckily, I learned it was all a big lie, you cannot fight against "this" reality. Not while you are using your body. You must be positive, yes, but you must be realistic, and pragmatic, too. Any other position is in detriment of yourself as human being, and surely it makes you an accessory in helping to get what another people is looking for.

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    1. Well said Od Liam. I understand how it's important for us all to try to defeat our enemies, stand strong when all is falling around us etc etc, but it's totally another thing when we hold a 'stance' that's impossible.
      I remember thoughts of how those in the army were shot because they were called cowards for being scared and fearful. If one is scared, then you are scared. No amount of positive thought would make you not feel threatened at that point.
      Sometimes we do more harm than good, when we set our goals on the impossible.

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  3. I get a lot of this nonsense via powerpoint presentations at work from our American owned corporation. Negativity is not an option, only an "OFI" (opportunity for improvement)
    As far as I can see, it's often an excuse to avoid tackling unwanted problems.

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    1. Good point Dalecooper57 because it's just like putting a plaster on an open wound fracture on the leg, constantly telling ourselves that 'our health will not be compromised as we are well'. Yeah, right. Thanks Dalecooper57.

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  4. I have a whole load on this, RPD! I have been sick for years, which led me to lose many so call "friends". If my dear friends asked me how I was doing, I would be considered as "negative" if I exploded a little bit of truth. I got so feed up!
    I think "positive attitude" is acceptance of fact, no matter dark or light, not self deceit. And ironically, I found the most positive positive people are those who are not afraid of saying: I am in a NEGATIVE situation, and I can take it!

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    1. So true Yun Yi and I'm sorry that you've had to deal with this and also lost friends through it. We do need to be honest when we are feeling negative for sure, and there's no harm trying to be positive through it. But if it doesn't work, then it doesn't work. We shouldn't have to force ourselves to lie about it and pretend all is well, when that clearly is not the case. In fact, it can make you feel more negative.
      If we can't be real around our friends, who can we be real around?
      Yun Yi, do you think that sometimes it may be a cultural thing? I ask because I've heard that Chinese people aren't comfortable discussing physical ailments... not even sure if this is true though, and thanks for sharing your views.

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    2. RPD, I guess there's a little bit cultural difference, probably not as much as I thought. also I think it is not really about 'discussing physical illness', but about empathy. Lot of people I met didn't seem to be comfortable to show compassion, so I guess they just preferred to deny the fact to avoid it. I also have some online CFS/ME friends, they are Americans, they also have similar experience - people don't seem to believe they are really ill, prefer believe they choose to be ill. In other words, if they are mentally "positive", their illnesses would be gone.

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  5. I think it's important not to dwell on what is negative without denying its existence.
    If it's bad it's bad.
    If I can improve the situation then I'll try to improve it.
    If I can't change it I will have to accept it, then move on to other things.
    If I pretend that everything is okay I'm fooling myself.

    There's a short prayer that goes something like this:
    "Grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change.
    The courage to change what I can change.
    And the wisdom to know the difference."

    Here's a joke about the glass being half full:
    The optimist sees the glass as half full.
    The pessimist sees the glass as half empty.
    The misanthropist says who cares, it's the wrong glass anyway!

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    1. Oh I just loved all what you put for the whole comment John. Never even occurred to me that 'it's the wrong glass anyway!', ha ha ha. Nice one.

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  6. You have a good point here. It's almost as if people don't want us to think negative when things go wrong or something.

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    1. Yes, and it seems to be an increasing trend at the moment Susana. Not only do people say thinking positive helps, as it can do. But they think that they can speak positive things into existence, which is very different.

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  7. My Man... Greetings,

    I had to Google Positive Affirmation: "The only 100 P. A.'s you will ever need." "Over 500 P. A.'s" Blah, blah, blah!!!

    In my opinion, it reeks of fake-ness. I consider myself to be pretty positive, but I'm a realist as well. Reading 100 P. A.'s over & over is not going to change reality. I'm all about "Happy Friday," I'm all about "Show your Smile," and I like to think that "It will be OK." But I'm not about "Repeat after me, ..., OK, again," etc. Yikes!!!

    IDK, maybe I'm totally missing it, but I won't be ordering my "Top 100." I'm out on the P. A.'s...

    Good stuff as usual. Have a great week, Slu

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    1. Yikes for true, Slu, and you're not missing it at all. You Googled it, and could see what I meant. Now, why aren't you chanting 'Im gonna have a happy Friday every Friday'? If you don't then next Friday may not be as happy. Ha ha ha ha ..
      Thanks for stopping by Slu, and I'll be popping over for a read accompanied with slow jams soon.




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  8. Naw naw naw. That's all wrong. If you hate your job, your affirmation would be, "I will continue to do the work and be grateful it provides my shelter and food, and I will begin seeking new opportunities to work in an environment I enjoy."

    I'm the queen of this shit I've been in therapy my entire adult life. The point is not to slap on a smile of denial and march forth like a happy robot. When things are crap your affirmation would be, "I am feeling anxious and sad about my current circumstances. I accept that sadness, and I will care for myself as I move forward, taking what action is necessary to make things better."

    It's just to recognize you're worthy of goodness and to treat yourself gently. Don't deny the bad stuff, just don't ADD to it by sinking into misery. If you do this, the world softens around you, ideally. And call me crazy, (really, you can. I have documentation of this fact) but it does kinda work.

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    1. As long as we are willing to recognise the bad as well as the good then all is well. We can work on the negatives for as long as it takes, but to deny it is what I would call 'crazy'.
      Now Therese, why have you got documentation that implies you are crazy? You've made me very curious, but as I always say to all, you don't have to answer ( but I'd like to know). Thanks for commenting.

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  9. There's nothing wrong with positive thinking, but pretending that a job is good when it isn't is a form of self-delusion. My wife has a good job but a dreadful boss, and I don't think it's possible to see it any other way.

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    1. Definitely self delusion Dennis. We must just say it as it is. Good to hear from you as always.

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  10. I am a believer in making my own mood, for the most part. I know some days I make myself miserable. But some times I am miserable because of circumstances outside of my control. Sure, give me lemons I can make lemonade. Give me crap.... well no amount of water and sugar is going to turn it into a delicious beverage. It is something I need to acknowledge and get rid of in my life. I've worked crap jobs, and my sheer determination to do what I had to do kept me hanging on. My advice would be not to try to brainwash yourself into liking you job, but fin d another job that you can be happy with. The true power in positive thinking is taking control of your life, and change what you are not happy about.

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    1. Well said Jamie. Part of all of this is acknowledging any negative and then trying to make a positive situation out of it. If you can change your job then by all means do so. If you can change a situation within your workplace to make it happier, then by all means do so. But until then, if you are not happy in your job, then the fact remains that you are unhappy in your job.

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  11. There is a part of Quantum Physics which states that we kinda create out own reality. Positive Affirmation is really just an unrealistic extension of that. A good portion of that Quantum Physics stuff about how we control the world around us has been proven in a number of ways, but in the end, you have to be pretty realistic about it.

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    1. I'm no expert in Quantum Physics at all, but I say, just keep it real. Thanks Dan.

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  12. I think positive affirmation should be about looking for the positive in a situation rather than dwelling on the negative. By all means hate your job, but be grateful you have a job, and so on. Added to this is the fact that our mind talk does have a tremendous impact on our selves and hence how we let events shape us. It's not about denying the negative, but choosing to focus on the positive.

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    1. True Robert. Even when we are stuck in bad circumstances, we should at least try to dwell on something positive if we can. So many people are stuck in dead end jobs but due to the economic downturn they have no choice but to be grateful about having a job right now. After all, there are many folk without a job today, so anything rather than nothing is a positive way to think until you move on.

      It's also true that we need to be aware of our own 'mind talk', as you put it. I guess if we convince ourselves that things are actually worse than they are, even though this may not actually change things, it can make us feel more stressed or unhappy than we need to.

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  13. Good point :)I wrote a post about positive affirmation. Chanting words without substance to me negates the true meaning of positive affirmation. This is an excerpt from my post.. " Letting those we care about know how we feel is equally important. Say it and show it on an ongoing basis. Affirmations are at the center of maintaining healthy relationships. If you do not positively affirm what is important to you then there are negative consequences. The bottom line is relationships suffer and negative affirmations brew and can change what we believe." I think that somewhere along the line positive affirmation seem to be taking the place of problem resolution which should not be the case. If you do not like your job then you should feel empowered to use your resources to change that. Find a job you love to do. Reinvent your world. Your positive affirmation should be " I will change my world and my career". To me this is how positive affirmation should be used. I agree with you :)

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    1. It's nice to meet you here P Williams-F, and thank you for sharing your views. Why don't you leave a page link to your post on this? I would love to have a read of it and I hope to hear from you again soon.

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  14. I can't get upset with those who live by positive affirmation--I think that for some people it actually works. But for those of us suffering with depression issues, hearing someone say, "Just change your outlook---think only positive thoughts and your perspective will change..." Nah. Doesn't always work that way. Bad things happen---life gets really sucky sometimes. If you are fortunate, the situation will turn around in your favor eventually. It's what you DO with the crappy stuff that determines the outcome for you. Sometimes you just can't change a bad situation---you just have to be strong and bear it until you are able to move on.

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    1. You just gave me a very balanced view Menopausal Mama. The good is good and the bad is bad. To pretend it is anything else would be a lie to all. I know for sure that when someone suffers from real depression (link click here.. Depression - Real or Fake?that it's not a case of 'pick yourself up' or 'change your thoughts', it's a lot more serious and deeper than that.
      Thank you so much for sharing your views.

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  15. I believe in positive affirmation to a point, I totally believe in being real. Life happens and it is not always easy to see the positive side of everything... what I take this all for is that I work through the difficult feelings that I allow myself to have since I am a human being and I am not always happy... :) However, I always work through that challenge and move onto the next:)

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    1. Thanks Launna, giving yourself permission to feel the way you feel is an important starting point just the same as being realistic about a situation that is not perfect. Equally, if not more important is something that follows from this, namely allowing others to voice their frustrations, grievances, disappointments, happiness etc.

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  16. I so happened to bump into this piece I once copied from Paolo Coelho "Warrior of Light":
    The warrior of light believes. Because he is convinced that his belief can change his life, his life changes. Because he is convinced that he will find love, love comes to meet him.

    I belief there is truth in this believing, yet I find myself torn when I think of all the unhappiness in so many places in the world. Hunger, poverty, prostitution, killings, murders, rapes, drugs, and so on...
    If we can (and some apparently do) achieve happiness through sheer 'thinking', why can't others?...

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    1. Oh Ziva, you've just given me a different thought. You see, if two people are in the same predicament then why is it that one can achieve something great and the other not? Is it due to opportunity, circumstance at the time, or what?
      But on the other hand, we all want good to happen with our lives but why hasn't it happened? Some people have done everything for love (as an example) but despite having many relationships they still don't get the love of their life.

      And those people trapped in unimaginably horrible situations - can positive talk really make a significant difference to them? Paolo Coelho seems almost on the verge of blaming the victims, by implication, at times. Thanks Ziva.

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  17. RPD, there's a famous American comedic sketch called "Daily Affirmations," which features Stuart Smalley, a timid, lisping, effeminate 12 Step recovery-stereotype trying to convince himself before a mirror, "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggonit, people like me." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DIETlxquzY

    The "positive affirmers" I've run into are basically struggling to control outcomes, and overall, it seems like a bunch of hooey. I suppose it's not a terrible thing to look on the bright side, but to do so indiscriminately seems more like a form of denial. Whatever floats their boat, though! Personally, I'd rather takes things as they come, rather than trying to imagine what could happen if I think about it long and hard enough.

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    1. Thanks for your views Helena and for sharing that link, I can't wait to check it out when I get a spare minute.

      I'll let you know how it goes!

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  18. I've always been attracted to people who "tell it like it is." I've always hated game players and people who are fake or superficial. I want to be friends with someone I can trust, not someone who I want to impress or who wants to impress me.

    That said, I heard a comment years ago that said: "Imagine the kind of person you want to be, and act like that person." By golly, it works! Eventually I became more patient, more loving, more confident. I fulfilled my desire. Now that behavior has become authentic for me.

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    1. Me too Carol. I like people who have those qualities of being honest and upfront. You always know where you stand with them. No games.

      As for developing your personality and character, this should be a lifelong quest for all of us. And so long as the person we become is an authentic expression of who we are inside, there's nothing dishonest about growing.

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  19. RPD, who hasn't run into those fine hypocrites? What's worse, these morons are frauds and tyrants too. Of course I am intending to quote Frederick William Robertson:

    'There are three things in the world that deserve no mercy, hypocrisy, fraud, and tyranny.'

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    1. Wow Umashankar! The only ones who are really being affected are the many who don't really see the hypocrisy behind what is going on until it's too late. So many people are talking about these 'positive affirmation' techniques, I'm just surprised it's not been exposed more.

      I think I can add more than 3 things that don't deserve mercy :) Thanks Umashankar.

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  20. Just in my personal experiences with therapy, I definitely gained more with those therapists and doctors who validated my feelings, then started work from there, instead of trying to make it seem like another weakness to feel bad about. Screw the positive affirmation for now, but don't fall into the self-pity hole either.

    Screw self affirmation. You can't deny what you are feeling when you are feeling it. Feel it. Address it. Then celebrate the positives that came from that.

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    1. I agree Charlene. We need to look at what we've got, where we are, and take it from there. I think you've made an astute observation that making people feel bad about feeling bad adds an additional psychological burden, which is not helpful. If I don't feel great, please don't pile guilt on on top! There's nothing positive in that!
      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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  21. I know exactly what you're talking about as I know someone who is positive affirmation crazy and it obviously doesn't work because negative things happen to her the same as they do to the rest of us.

    I think the affirmation addicted don't deal with their feelings.

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    1. You've seen this working or should I say not working as first hand experience Michelle. Observation - that's the scientific method :)

      It's easier to try and control something if you make people get their feelings/emotions out of the way. But sometimes those feelings are actually useful as alarm bells that something is not right.

      Perhaps it's true what you say, last of all. Affirmation, whilst appearing assertive is actually a bush to hide from reality behind. Thanks Michelle.

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  22. Great post. I agree with you. I believe there are people that get caught up in the "positive thinking" mindset and fail to see the complexity of reality. I think we need to accept that both sadness and happiness are part of life. I don't believe in repeating those phrases that you mention if they are not authentic. But I do believe that passion and hard work can help. It is a good idea to do our best to focus on our passions without fretting over the outcome. This is my life philosophy. Life is a gift of surprises and creative minds can bring new solutions to the problems...

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    1. Hard work can sometimes help us to achieve our goals but it's just mind boggling to think that you can achieve the same thing without taking any action towards it at all, apart from though making verbal statements. Nice to hear from you again Julia.

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  23. Hey, there are times when we all are down, and not everything is positive. Life occurrances, happiness, and sadness all are a part of life. We actually need all those things to grow and experience al parts of life. The positive affirmation thing is a bit much now and then.

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    1. True Phil. Many times it is the bad and sad parts of my life that have encouraged me to carry on. It's the scraping of the barrel of life that makes you get up and take note, so we should embrace it all, then make positive turns to try and make it right.

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  24. I really need this one. They say in order to be positively graced; you need to surround yourself with positive people. Thank you very much for the inspiring and encouraging words. It has changed my point of view in life and I hope starting today and for the rest of the season will turn out positively.

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    1. Thanks, Lora. Yes, and you know what? I really appreciate the positive people who have chosen to participate in this blog. What do I mean by positive? They don't deny the hard realities, but struggle with them to come out the other side wiser and stronger.

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  25. Greetings human,

    Now I'm really annoyed, I just left a great long comment and it vanished!

    I had a discussion with a human about your article. Yes, he agrees that if, for example, a job is not working out and somebody is trying to give a positive outlook to an untenable situation, that it's best to realise it's time to get the hell out.

    Yes, my human tries to live life with realistic positive anticipation, rather than negative speculation. Being positive is darned hard work, but he knows the alternative is a place he doesn't want to visit, ever again.

    When he nearly died in hospital, he got motivation from finding a positive focus and that he believes, saved his life.

    However, those who go into positive affirmation overdrive are not seeing the whole picture. Bad things happen and how they are dealt with is subject to how one feels about it. My human does know that he tries to distance himself from a negative environment for his own mental health well being.

    Um pawsitive wishes,

    Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar! If this comment vanishes, I going to go after one of those positive affirmation folks!

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    1. Greetings Penny, the same has happened to my comments on many blogs so I've learned to first type my comment in text editor, then copy and paste it into the comments section, so if it disappears I can just paste it back in again.

      Pawhaps you might want to suggest this to your human...

      Woof woof! Please tell your human this:
      'On a more serious note, I think you reveal a great secret about your source of inner strength in your comment. The ability to take an ironic, humorous, sideways glance at the darkest depths of your experience. This says a lot about the strength of character that got you away from death's door.'

      Thanks Penny for sharing your human's point of view.

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    2. My human has done that copy and pasting many a time before, however there was no warning this time, it just vanished, my human friend. Never mind :)

      My human is into irony about things that have been negative. Doesn't give them the validity to dominate his life any more.

      Be well, human!

      Penny the diva dog :)

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  26. ah well!

    "Law of attraction" always has me intrigued. When I first heard about it, I decided to give it a whirl and I did.

    It really does not mean that you should lie to yourself about what you are going through or about what you feel. And it also does not mean that just by merely repeating words, things are going to turn around for you.

    It means that you have to accept what has happened, move forward and stop dwelling/obsessing on the negatives. It only means that if you want something so badly from the bottom of your heart, yo will end up achieving it.

    Of course this is just my view, and I don't force it on other people :)

    "the action of Mind plants that nucleus which, if allowed to grow undisturbed, will eventually attract to itself all the conditions necessary for its manifestation in outward visible form." -Thomas Troward

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    1. Nina, thanks for sharing your experience here. What I don't understand is the part where you mentioned 'if you want something so badly from the bottom of your heart, you will end up achieving it'. Nothing wrong with that statement in general but you have to do the graft in order to get what you strongly want. 'Positive Affirmation' seems to claim that it can get done simply by saying it everyday! How can this be the case?

      Isn't this what the quote from Thomas Troward is saying too?
      I don't wish to put you on the spot at all, and you don't have to answer but have you recieved anything tangible just by saying it since you tried the 'Law of attraction'?

      I really appreciate what you say about 'not forcing it on other people' - that's the main thing! Of course, you're mentioning it here because I've invited discussion on this topic, but I'm glad you give others the right to speak their own feelings.

      Glad you was able to give us some more insight into this Nina.

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  27. Thinking positive is a good thing . It gives you some relief in our bad times of life ,but
    we have to face the reality and try our best to fight with the problems we are facing .
    Have a good day

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    1. Thanks for your comment Aunt Mary. I'll be over soon too :)

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  28. Love, love, love this post! I am a self-proclaimed "positive" person, as you probably know :) However, this goes hand in hand with taking ACTION. I don't just sit around and say positive things, I put myself into a positive mindset then follow through with action. Words are just words, they don't magically bring something to light.

    I was angry, negative and pessimistic a bulk of my adult life. As such I exhibited negative behavior and made extremely bad choices.

    My thought...if you hate your job and it makes you unhappy...a positive thing to do would be to quit, find a job you love and be happy. Telling yourself to be happy can only go too far. Reality check!

    Thanks for this post, I felt you were writing it for me! (egocentric as that probably sounds). :)

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed reading the post Michelle, and you truly have turned your life around from what it was previously. As you say, this must have taken positive action, in addition to any positive words. And all this stems from a positive but realistic mind-set. Thanks for sharing your point of view Michelle.

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  29. I have heard and read from people I greatly admire, that such positive mantras will bring you what you want but I have a hard time with it as well. I'm a generally happy, positive person, and I actually believe in the law of attraction but when something in my life changes or needs to change I find I need to actually feel the emotion of the situation, whether it be grief, anger, frustration, etc. before I can take action and feel truly positive again. Furthermore, I certainly would never suggest to someone else that their feelings about any situation were invalid or that their bad attitude caused it to happen. Life's hard enough without that kind of judgement!

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    1. Thanks Auntie. I like the way you put it - 'The need to feel', so simple yet so true! Nobody is saying you have to dwell on negative feelings or thoughts forever. But to allow yourself the space to react and absorb, to make allowances for the human condition, is surely just being realistic about what it means to be a person.

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  30. I think it's wonderful that so many people have found a new lease on life through The Law Of Attraction and other such strategies. The problem arises when they try to foist their experience on others as a kind of universal recipe. This is the error religions and philosophies have consistently made throughout the ages, and it can only lead to misunderstanding, resentment and confusion.

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    1. You have a point NP. I don't mind hearing what others have to say on most things in life. You just eat the meat and spit out the bones. But anyone who has to push and force their ideas & opinions on you, then you know something is not right. I know, I've been through it (a toxic version of religion). Thanks for your views Nothingprofound.

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  31. Do you remember Debbie Downer from SNL? She always complained about everything and made funny faces. I think that so many people are afraid of turning into her, that they overcompensate by trying to be the life of the party. I agree that it's healthier to be able to let it all out, and then go back to being the life of the party.

    Julie

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    1. Oh, I don't know Debbie Downer but I think I get the gist. I suppose we all have that mental image of that stereotypical, self-pitying moaner or grumpy misanthropist who's great as a character on a TV show but a real role-model in who we would not want to be in real life! Perhaps you're right - it's just the case that some people try too hard to go the other way. Thanks Empty Nest Insider.

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  32. I believe that we learn lessons from the things that go wrong in our lives. So I guess I don't understand how we can take a lesson from the negatives if we take the attitude that we shouldn't acknowledge them.

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    1. That's a wonderful point Karen. In a way, it's like saying all is good and there is no bad or we should only laugh and never cry. There is so much knowledge that we can gain from negative situations, feelings etc.. Thanks for stopping by again and leaving a comment.

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  33. Interesting subject. I can't speak to positive affirmations in other circles, but what I know is that there are groups within the Christian faith who are preoccupied with speaking "positive confessions." Some will judge every word you say, and correct you anytime you make what they deem "a bad confession"--even if you jokingly say something like "my tooth is killing me." "Killing me" is a bad confession, they would say.

    In my view, in Christianity, this positive confession crusade is the concept of biblical faith gone awry. I do believe that oftentimes, God challenges us to place our faith in Him during hellish times when we would naturally choose to wallow in pity. In such times, we should embrace the APPROPRIATE promises of God and "walk by faith and not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7). But this in no way means we can't say how we truly feel, express our fears,etc. Mere positive confessions can't change our world.

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    1. I have a friend who lives by the christian 'positive confession' and the example you gave was 'spot on'. I loathe speaking to this person on some days. Conversations are nightmares at times.

      I only wish I had used that example of the 'tooth killing me' in my post. It's so apt for what I was talking about. Ridiculous yet true. In human behaviour truth is often stranger than fiction.

      Any Christian who falls for this, need only read the Psalms or book of Job to see some bitter complaints from men of authentic faith in God. Always good to hear from you Frank.

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  34. Hi Rum,

    I know what you are on about, I have met people like you describe that are in my opinion 'away with the fairies' though they do give people who like to live a more spiritual life a bad name, we aren't all mad and we have to live in reality just like everyone else and if something in our life is crap it means it has to change and just convincing yourself that it's not isn't going to help anyone!

    I understand affirmations and have tried them myself, it about trying to reprogram yourself to see the positive. We are all too quick to say 'I look ugly' or 'I'm stupid' instead of praising ourselves. I have a favourite quote from Gandi ~

    “Your beliefs become your thoughts,
    Your thoughts become your words,
    Your words become your actions,
    Your actions become your habits,
    Your habits become your values,
    Your values become your destiny.”

    Great topic to discuss Rum :)

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    1. Thanks Jade and I'm going to attempt to answer...

      Gandhi always tends to bring a lot of wisdom to anything he pronounces on. But I would say what he states here accurately describes the journey from the inner world of a person to the outer, material one we live in.

      But it's a two way road, isn't it?

      We have negative experience which impact on us. And in that case, to refuse to recognise them as such is surely a mistake. At least, I think so.

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    2. Yes I definitely agree, you can't live being blindly positive all the time and neither can you live never seeing the positive in anything, it has to be all about balance :)

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  36. There's definitely a difference between looking on the bright side and straight denial. There comes a point when we do have to acknowledge that all is not well, so that we can see what is going wrong and figure out how to fix it. Otherwise we are living in a fantasy land and not figuring out how to better things.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Black Sheep Mom. Yes, that's exactly what I'm thinking, summed up succinctly.

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  37. We have the power to choose how we will react to circumstances - NOT the circumstances! All this 'believe yourself well, and you will be well' stuff is a trap. Yes, positive thinking and good attitudes have been proven to make a difference in longevity and health. BUT - if positive thinking is all I need to cure my disease - why is there still disease? The flip side, in order for this to be true, is that all the sick folks out there are 'defective' somehow. They really want to be sick, or they wouldn't be. To deny disease and death and trouble is as close to insanity as you can get - a break with reality is the very definition of insanity! I had a long conversation once with a fellow who insisted that all evil and pain was in the mind only, that once a person achieved 'higher consciousness' and realized that only good existed, they would be able to walk away from pain. Try telling those women who were abducted and held against their will for ten years that their experience was all in their mind, that if they just thought positively enough, they would have been able to walk away free!!! It's simply preposterous to place that much of a burden on someone - it heaps a subtle yet deadly form of blame on those experiencing very real trauma! Yes, think positive - but living in outright denial is dangerous, and deadly for mental and emotional health...What a great debate to hold, RPD!

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    1. You bring out that important element of blaming the victim. I don't see how, if you believe that the power over your situation is in you, you can avoid blaming people who are going through bad times for their lot. Rather than realise that bad stuff, time and chance just happen to us all.

      I think the appropriate response to people going through horrible things is compassion and solidarity, not mind over matter. Though, of course, encouraging them to look towards any positives and hope that things might change is also a help. Thank you for your comment Melody :)

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  38. Just denying the existence of problems is not going to make them go away. I do believe in positivity, but reality needs to have a place, too, in order for anything to get better.

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    1. Great to hear from you again Shelly. Some problems are not going to just disappear unless we take action. If only a spoken word could get rid of my problems I'd be perfect right now. :)

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  39. Good morning !
    a very nice post... as usual. I did not read all the comments (too many), but..
    I believe we have to be positive, but also realistic !
    To be positive is important... to see the good part of each story, I believe it is a point of strength.
    But when something is wrong it is wrong.. and we have also to admit if something is not working, or if we don't like it...
    I personally don't like many things... but I try to enjoy life as much as I can ... we have to find the right balance.

    ps: you remember well about the biscuit from Burano! good memory!

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment Massimo, and anything to do with food or drink comes to mind more quickly, ha ha ha. I just love Italy.

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  40. Go check this out. You are a recipient of these no-strings-attached awards

    http://themotherofnine9.wordpress.com/2013/05/14/blog-awards-straight-from-the-heart/

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    1. Going over there now Melanie. And a very big Thank You for the awards.

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  41. I believe in speaking positively. I don't necessary believe that just because you say it, it will happen. But I feel like if you say it enough though, it will remind you that you need to take steps to make things happen. Of course, you've gotta be realistic too.
    Great post. I love the discussions on your blog. awesome!

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    1. It's great to hear from you Hope and thanks for leaving a comment. I certainly enjoy reading your posts too. Hope you pop back again to read some more :)

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  42. No. I'm not Miss Positive Affirmation. I can never be. I don't think its wrong to decline the situation you are in. If you don't like it, then its ok not to like it.
    I've come across such person, who used to write God's name repeatedly in a belief that God will solve the problem. But I never understood, how was God gonna solve the problem if you don't put any efforts. Praying to God is a different thing, torturing him is another. :p
    Right?? Similarly, being positive is one thing, and fooling yourself is another.

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    1. Nice to hear from you again Esabella as I know you've been busy with exams and thanks for the comment.

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  43. I believe in this, speak it into existence is a way to go. But there's also prayer, I was in church a week ago and there was a song that just touched me. I have heard "I Won't Complain" many times before, but this particular Sunday, my soul was literally touched by the song, I was at a point where things were going just crazy, but I told myself during that song that whatever I was dealing with I was letting go and letting God. At that point that was my Positive Affirmation, because I already knew it would be taken care of. I'm glad I read this, thanks.

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    1. When you bring faith in God into the equation, I think there are several aspects that come into play. I have a church background but I'm well aware that within Christianity, there are so many different flavours and beliefs, so I'm only putting my 2 cents in...
      - First, the idea that God is in charge and knows best, and therefore it is affirming to remind oneself of this.
      - Secondly, the idea that by praying over a situation and inviting God to deal with it, there is the potential for a divine intervention which can change the course of events. But the decision is not down to us, but God.
      - Thirdly, there is concept of affirmation in which the person 'tells God what to do', in the sense that if you say something God is bound to fulfill it.

      This third version, for me, gets things back to front, as it makes prayer or words of faith into a way almost of ordering God around. My idea of prayer would be closer to an alignment of a person's will to God's will, rather than the other way around.

      I would say that what you have shared here falls within the first two categories. Tell me if I'm wrong, and thanks or your views Theory Republic.

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  44. omg, this post, although not meant to be funny, is too funny. I'll tell you why. I'm a very positive person who uses daily affirmations to help me but I have that side that also sees reality. And sadly, I'm not that nice to people who try to turn everything into something positive. They get a burning earful from me. Hiding the truth of reality causes stress and fears. Let it out. Once it's out look for a solution if there is one.
    I'll tell you what goads me is when some stranger walks up to me and says 'smile. You're not smiling.' But I must admit it does help, because after I rip into them, I smile for quite a while.

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    1. Donna, now I'm smiling! That was hilarious.
      It's all about reality, and I think you have the balance right from your comment and thanks for stopping by here.

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  45. Hi Rum-Punch Drunk! Oh, I know about positive affirmations, and I know about people trying to get you to edit out what they think is not positive about whatever you’re saying or writing. (One of my sisters does that to me.) There is nothing wrong with being real; in fact, it’s healthier to face reality than imagine you live in a world of sunshine and lollipops...because there is no world where the sun shines all the time. The idea that saying out loud that you’re not happy about something like your job will actually cause it to go wrong is hogwash, in my opinion.

    That being said, I believe there is value to positive affirmations when used properly as a motivational tool and not as a “be all and end all” way to achieving your goals. Positive affirmations with a dose of reality thrown in. I know a bit about this topic, because when I lived in California, I attended New Age seminars where positive affirmations were discussed.

    Positive affirmations can be used very effectively to help focus your mind on a positive goal (weight loss, for example), as long as you recognize the need to do more than just say the words. Positive affirmations can keep you motivated toward a goal, but you have to work on that goal with deeds and not just words. I have seen too many people take the idea of saying positive affirmations too literally and expect that just by saying positive words repetitively their life will change. Doesn’t work that way.

    RPD, back in March when you did your Mother’s Day post, you said that I should leave a link to my Mother’s Day post in the comments section of whatever topic you were writing about. Well, I haven’t forgotten, here’s the link, and thank you big time! :)
    http://jerseylils2cents.blogspot.com/2013/05/carmela-mothers-day-remembrance.html

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    1. I definitely see your point JerseyLil. It's clearly one thing to say positive words and another to actually do something towards that goal, so it makes sense what you have said.

      Yes I do remember telling you to leave a link about your Mother's Day post and I'm glad you did that. You put the hyphens in the wrong place as they should have been underscores instead, so I've copied the correct link here and put another link in my post 'The Meaning of Motherhood so people can also find you there too:

      Carmela, A Mothers Day Remembrance

      I do hope that everyone checks out your post on the above link including your blog, as I am a fan of JerseyLils2cents and she is a great writer / blogger.

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    2. Thanks so much for correcting that, RPD! :)

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