When Too Much Positivity Isn’t Helpful
- By Grace Khleif
- On October 26, 2021
Mindset and attitude are very crucial for success and happiness. No wonder many life coaches, therapists and professionals in the self-development field rush to help their clients find a positive mindset. I myself have over-used positive training and get it, but I also understand that there is a time and place for finding the hidden gift in negative events, for finding the silver lining or even gratitude for events that initially feel painful. It is important to remember that our emotions can work like a compass, they are our natural feedback system. Emotions direct us to consider areas of our lives that require change. Avoiding negative emotions is like ignoring the check-engine light in your car. Missing negative emotions will allow them to fester, grow and show up at the wrong time rendering our lives more difficult.
According to Vipassana Meditation Training, 2500 years ago, the Buddha taught that if we resist negative feelings, they expand. If we pursue the positive sensations, they dissipate. The desire to control our emotions gets us exactly the opposite of what we want. Carl Jung taught that what we resist not only persist but expands. Emotions flow through the body like water flowing through a river. Our resistance to negative feelings is like throwing a boulder into the river – building a dam that blocks our natural emotional flow.
Therefore, it is critical that we allow the negative feelings to be fully felt, to give us the necessary feedback, express what needs to be expressed, and only then, we can allow them to dissipate naturally. Sitting with feelings, without judgement, can have a profound effect on the mind, body, and spirit.
Many people prefer to look at the bright side of things, to walk away from painful situations, and wish away negative emotions. This might work for a short period of time but unless we express those feelings and find the root cause they will keep resurfacing. That is why, as coaches, we have to make sure that when we are helping our clients we don’t move too quickly towards positivity. We must create a safe place for the clients and invite them to explore what they previously thought was the scary, shadowy underworld of negative feelings. As we process them, those feelings dissolve. The result is clients feel liberated, free to move forward with ease. They don’t have to run a marathon with weighted shoulder pads, or try to hold a beach ball under water for a long time. They understand that all that suffering is optional and they get to choose differently.
Meditation and a mindfulness-based training will help you experience more of this for yourself.
I invite you to join me sometime for a mindful meditation session as we scan and explore what is going on in your body. Breathe through your emotions and sit with whatever is happening without judgment.
Feel free to contact me for an experience not to be forgotten: [email protected]