Positive thinking dominates our conscious minds. When we have a thought we can control, we try to make it positive. This is a massive problem; it may be humanity's deadly flaw. All those negative thoughts you cannot control, therefore, have a basis in unconscious negativity, an area we are motivated to avoid, especially since the advent of the positive thinking culture.
What is unconscious originates outside of our awareness. What is outside of our awareness is outside of our control. To control negativity, we need to be able to see it, focus on it, confront it, deal with it - NOT avoid it.
The positive side of life is valid part of the story. Denying the rest of the story goes against ancient spiritual wisdom, psychological evidence, common sense and sets you up for a lifetime of disappointment and self-sabotage.
Look at the world around you. Look at your own mind and behavior honestly. It is not all positive. Focusing only on the positive and denying the negative is a recipe for disaster. The disaster is in full force all around us. We continue to deny it at our own peril.
We need holistic thinking, not positive thinking.Positive thinking is the act of thinking good or affirmative thoughts. Many people engage in positive thinking to rid themselves of negative thoughts, even though it is the worst way to get rid of them.
Positive thinking goes against holistic thinking on so many levels. Holistic thinking embraces all of life, the positive and the negative, to the point of transcending them. By transcending them, I don't mean avoiding negativity, but achieving balance between these opposing forces that are not going away, no matter how much we pretend otherwise.
Focusing solely on the positive empowers the negative, because the negative and the positive are connected. It works like a teeter-totter. Sit on one side and the other pops up. Put equal weight on both sides and you can live in balance and harmony.
Lessons from TaoismTaoism teaches us that the seeming opposites in life actually give rise to each other. Many natural dualities (such as female and male, dark and light, low and high, cold and hot, water and fire, life and death, and so on) are thought of as physical manifestations of the yin-yang concept.
Christian apologist C.S. Lewis spoke highly of the Tao in his book, The Abolition of Man:
The Tao, which others may call Natural Law or Traditional Morality or the First Principles of Practical Reason or the First Platitudes, is not one among a series of possible systems of value. It is the sole source of all value judgments. If it is rejected, all value is rejected.Denying negativity - especially our unconscious attachments to it - is a flat rejection of the Tao.
The Old Testament lays it out clearly, in Eccelesiates 3: 1-8There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
If a "positive thinker," as opposed to (theoretically) King Solomon, had written Ecclesiastes, here is what we might have gotten:
A time to be born, but you never have to die if you see the glass as "half-full."
A time to laugh, but weeping is not necessary because nothing in life is sad if you have a positive mental attitude.
A time to search, and never give up regardless of the evidence.
A time to love, but we're not comfortable mentioning that other word.
A time for peace, so let's pretend there are no bad guys in the world.
A time to heal, but we're not comfortable admitting there is such a thing as killing, or even suffering.
If we are going to deal with the negative before it swallows us, we need to learn to focus on it, intentionally. This involves learning how it operates in our own psyche. We need to face it productively, rather than ignore it. Facing negativity can change your life for the better in ways you have never imagined.
When you face negativity - including the natural negativity within you - with open eyes and an open mind, you naturally put your magnificent intelligence to work to solve problems, not deny them. Self-sabotage, which results from an unconscious attachment to negativity, becomes a thing of the past. To learn more about how to overcome self-sabotage by understanding negative attachments.