Are you a positive thinker or an optimist?

You might think that optimism and positive thinking are the same. They do overlap, but positive thinking has a negative side. By its very name, positive thinking buys into polarity thinking of pitting positive thinking against negative thinking.

Here is the practical difference. You are feeling discouraged. Perhaps your house is in foreclosure, you are being outsourced or your daughter has joined a cult. You are worried. You feel quite awful.

Your optimistic friend will talk to you about solutions; what might be done to help, how you might find a solution to the situation, why it might work out despite feeling awful right now. This optimistic friend’s thinking is positive, but he is not minimizing your worry and fear.

Your positive friend, on the other hand – the one in the new thought movement – is offended and upset by your worry and fear. This person is likely to tell you something like, “Just don’t give power to it!” Think positive thoughts and manifest the money/a new job/your daughter’s safety.
This person’s intense resistance to your “negativity” has already given power to it.  Jesus of Nazareth advised, “Resist not evil.”  I think he was talking about this very thing.  What you resist, persists.

Faced with her own negative thoughts, this friend may seem to have Tourette’s syndrome, barking, “Cancel! Cancel!” followed by a positive affirmation. Aside from making her look silly, a “cancel” command is…well, um, I hate to tell you this, but…it’s a negative thought.

This sort of exercise, if done without understanding, can do a good job of cramming the negative thought and feeling into the unconscious. Being conscious of unpleasant thoughts and feelings allows you deal with them and let them go. Repressing unpleasant thoughts and feelings keeps them around like unclaimed baggage.

Then the fun begins, as the negativity you ignore or repress pops up like a gopher and upsets or embarrasses you at inopportune moments. Repressed feelings cause you to binge eat or drink, and say things you are sorry for. They make you burst into tears or into a rage when you least expect it. If you are a fan of The Secret, you will wonder why you manifest unpleasant circumstances when you are such a positive thinker.

When you get right down to it, it is only the story we tell ourselves that determines whether our thoughts and feelings are negative or positive. You cannot manifest anything of lasting value at this superficial level.

But below the flow of energy we call emotions and our mental chatter about them, is an enduring state of connection and love. The more you let the emotions flow, feel them and let them go, the more you will experience that connection and love.

I’m positive.

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