Now you may wonder how on earth positive thinking can be dangerous?! Read on to find out about an aspect of ‘self-help’ that is rarely talked about even though it causes a lot of people a huge amount of unnecessary pain and despair.
If you’re someone that is usually positive and optimistic and generally find life easy, you may be surprised by what you’re about to read; if however you are someone, like me, who have spent years struggling with painful emotions, with seemingly nowhere to go and an increasing sense of despair, you will recognise instantly what I’m talking about (and you may be relieved to hear that that there is a way out.)
There’s a lot of popular psychology on the law of attraction and positive thinking available today. Simplified, a lot of these theories come down to ‘Think positive thoughts and you’ll be happy and have whatever you want’. Other than the fact that this is simply not true for most people I know, what I believe to be even more dangerous than setting these false expectations is the implied converse assumption that ‘If you are unhappy, depressed or stressed or if you don’t have what you want in your life – it’s really your fault because you’re thinking negative thoughts.’
As if you’re not having a hard enough time, a layer of self-blame and criticism is now added to your struggle, guaranteed to only make things worse. I recently reached out to someone for help who is quite well-known in ‘self-help’ circles. His final advice to me was to sign up for his coaching program because it ‘might be a good little kick-along’.
Now I’m all for a good kick up the bum every now and again, but in some cases this way of treating yourself (or your clients, if you work with people) is just simply wrong. What I really needed was someone to help me find my way out, with kindness, love, compassion and above all, skill.
‘Think yourself into happiness and riches’ teachers often state that ‘energy flows where attention goes’ – meaning that if you place your focus and attention on what you want then Utopia is but a breath away.
It is absolutely true that energy flows where attention goes – and that’s why it is important that you pay attention to what you focus on. However, what most people don’t know is that the opposite is also true: attention goes where energy flows. This is very practically illustrated by Donna Eden in her wonderful book ‘Energy Medicine’ (see book review in this newsletter).
This means that if something (stress, unresolved emotional ‘stuff’, a trauma, illness, a bad diet, addictions etc) throws your energy system off-balance then your thoughts will likely be off-balance too. And the fact is that sometimes changing your thoughts just does not have enough power to change or re-balance your energy flow to a more healthy or positive state; it’s not always possible to think positive thoughts and it may feel like you’re fighting a losing battle to keep negative thoughts at bay.
Incompetent or inexperienced practitioners (and well-meaning friends!) may sometimes want to simplify your predicament by telling you to ‘just get over it’ or that ‘happiness is a choice’. In worst cases and under the disguise of teaching ‘responsibility’, they may even blame you for being stuck instead of skilfully helping you to resolve the underlying causes for why you’re stuck, so that you can move forward.
This ignorant approach often leaves people feeling worse than before, misunderstood and in despair, feeling that they have nowhere to go to and no-one to turn to. They commonly shut down or revert to anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication because they simply cannot stand the pain any longer. [I am all for western medicine, and I have found that there are often more holistic ways to heal and help myself and others.]
POSITIVE THINKING BY ITSELF ISN’T ALWAYS THE SOLUTION
Positive thinking may be essential, but for some people with a very negative energy system it is simply impossible to have positive thoughts; for others it may be possible to think positive thoughts but nit may not change anything for them.
I’ve seen this in my own life and with clients; in 2001 I worked in the Middle East and had a lot of free time. I listened to recorded affirmations for hours and would repeat them silently and out loud as I went running daily or as I walked about town; I even left them playing by my bedside when I went to sleep every night.
It helped me none.
My emotional struggle become harder and more desperate until I eventually felt that I’d run out of options a year later –when I discovered EFT. [Not that EFT is a ‘fix-all’ solution either; I’ll write more about that later.]
A HOLISTIC APPROACH
I believe that people who are really stuck (like I was) need a holistic approach to their healing. That means, including body, mind, and spirit:
- BODY: Clear out emotional ‘stuff’ and actively support your energy system
- MIND: Get clear on how you would like to feel and be, and choose thoughts that support that way of feeling and being
- SPIRIT: Use your imagination to create more of what you want
I will give more details on each of these aspects in later articles and how I apply EFT in every step along the way.
In my experience, focusing on one of these areas without paying attention to the others usually leads to more frustration, confusion, disappointment, resentment and despair.
WHERE TO FROM HERE
If you have tried every self-help, positive affirmation and ‘law of attraction’ book and technique and you are still unhappy, unfulfilled or struggling, I do have some good news for you: based on my own experience of moving through some very painful and dark places in my own life, I absolutely believe that everyone (yes, that would include you!) can experience a happier and more peaceful life.
As Donna Eden says ‘If your energies are free for healing and creativity, your mind will follow.’
Even if the only thing you take from this article is hope then great!
And if you do want some help, why not email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or request your free discovery session here and I will give you some ideas on how you can help yourself to move forward.