Positive thinking. What is that about?
WebMD defines positive thinking as “an optimistic attitude, the practice of focusing on the good in any given situation.” The Leading Personality blog describes positive thinking as “a mental attitude in which you expect good and favourable results.” But is this a realistic attitude especially for people who suffer from anxiety disorder? How is it different from wishful thinking – which is tantamount to delusion?
However, there are those who opine that positive thinking – as described above – does not actually work for everyone. Melody Wilding states – “unreasonably optimistic thinking can trigger a self-defeating spiral, particularly for those prone to anxiety and depression. Research shows that while repeating positive self-statements may benefit people with high self-regard, it can backfire for those lacking confidence.”
Quite often, folks who have been blessed with high self-esteem and confidence are not able to understand those who do not feel the same way, encouraging the latter to “think positive”. While admirable and well-intentioned, it creates a false narrative that somehow a person is able to control outcomes by their attitude, which is utterly false! Even more than circumstances, it is even riskier to apply this concept of positive thinking to the other people in our lives. Just because you have certain positive expectations of how another person is going to behave towards you will in no way guarantee that result. In fact, the opposite is often true.
Therefore, it is NOT about having expectations of people or circumstances but thinking positive despite negative people and circumstances. After all, I cannot control people or circumstances, I can only control my responses to people and circumstances. This is where positive thinking comes in. In this way, I can feel secure and content without running the risk of feeling disappointed or frustrated. No need to waste emotions and feelings on negativity. That to me is the essence of positive thinking.
… still there’s more …