Hi, Max here from The Coaching Room. Thanks for checking out my latest article. In this article I’ll be talking about an unconventional perspective about positive thinking, and why as a single perspective can be limiting and not valuable in every context.
From an NLP perspective “Positive thinking” can be highly valuable. Here are some NLP presuppositions which will put this article into context.
- We deal with a map of reality, not reality itself.
- Our map is an internal representation, constructed in mind.
- What we pay attention to, determines the quality of our mental map - our thinking.
- Our thinking then determines our state experience (emotions), which then affects our physiology and behaviour.
So, with that understanding, we can determine that “positive thinking” - focusing on thoughts that serve us, rather than ones that don’t will shape our experience and behaviours.
Right, got that so far? Then let’s get into the 5 reasons to burn positive thinking.
1. Positive Thinking is Dualistic.
If you do a quick google search on positive thinking - what you’ll find are a number of results about overcoming negative thinking.
“Positive” and “Negative” don’t actually exist in reality (except on a battery). They exist in polarity to each other. That means, in order to know what “Positive Thinking” is, you need to know what “Negative Thinking” is.
Positive and Negative are simply perspectives on the same thing. Two parts of a whole. Let’s look at that for a moment.
Why does a person need to think positively? Because, positive thinking is required to counteract all the negativity.
Hoping for the best is actually fearing the worst won’t happen. Much like fearing for the worst is a person thinking pretty positively, that things will be wrong.
That brings us to the reason number 2.
2. Positive Thinking Is Pretty Negative Actually.
So if positivity only exists in the face of negatively and actually, positive thinking is about overcoming negative thinking… Let’s take this a step further.
Let’s say you value positive thinking, that it’s really important to you. What happens when someone is thinking or acting negatively towards you.
Do you hold them with unconditional positive regard? Or do you have negative thoughts about them, allowing them to “bring you down” or affect your state of mind.
Looking on the “bright side” is ignoring the dark side. Once, you can acknowledge that there are two sides, positive and negative disappear which brings us to choice point.
Where do you choose to send your attention?
3. So, is the glass half full or half empty?
I’m sure you’ve heard the expression of the glass half full or half empty. It’s a simple expression that can determine a person's worldview or perspective. The funny thing is, if it's half full, you’re right. If it's half empty, you’re right.
If both are true, then if that’s the case then both are also equally not true, but simply two perspectives on the same thing - an interpretation of reality.
So if the glass is half full, how long is this true if you were to hold the glass up for as long as you could.
4. Forget Positive Affirmations.
A common application of positive thinking is positive affirmations. But why do people use affirmations? Because they operate under the assumption that affirmations can strengthen them by helping them believe in their potential, affirming their dreams and ambitions to reassure themselves that this positive thinking will become a reality.
Seems beneficial right? Let’s look at that for a moment.
Positive affirmations are a strategy of reassurance. So what are you truly reinforcing within yourself with an affirmation?
That you’re the opposite. Otherwise, why would you need reassurance that you’re a good person (for example). Because you believe you’re not.
Oops. Did you mean to do that?
If not, forget positive affirmations. Ask yourself a really powerful question instead, then spend the day trying to answer it.
5. Positive thinking is thinking.
Positive or negative thinking is still thinking. When we’re thinking, we’re inside the map of reality, our interpretation of it. Reality isn’t positive or negative, only our perception of it can be.
So anytime you’re thinking, you’re not actually WITH reality and what is truly happening in the moment.
This is the same as the movement for mindfulness. Sounds great! To be mindful of your thoughts, feelings, actions and behaviours. This is a great starting point, to bring awareness to these domains - however our offer is to have a mind that's emptifull. To have a mind, not be had by it.
Don’t believe what you’ve read here. I’m not telling you to stop thinking positively. I’m simply giving you 5 reasons of how it can be a limitation. Try it on for yourself.
A question we often ask within the context of The Coaching Room is - “Does it serve you?”
Given the 5 reasons to burn positive thinking - do they resonate with you? If so, does positive thinking actual serving you in the context of your life? Does it enable your best at all times? If so - great! Continue doing so. If not, you have the choice to do something different. It’s not to thinking positively or negatively, but to be with what is true and act from there.
Thanks for reading :)
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