The Unexpected Irony of the Positive Thinking Movement

GUEST POST BY JANET RICHMOND

Janet RichmondThe very thing you think would not happen with the Positive Thinking Movement is the very thing that has begun to crop up. Thinking positively has unwittingly created a backlash of sorts in that it sometimes has become a reason to judge others. Many of us have heard someone say “I can’t do it” (whatever the “it” is for that person) and then don’t we often jump in and say, “Don’t be negative. Don’t program your failure before you start” (or something along those lines). Often this comes from real caring as we don’t want that person to give up on themselves or to be discouraged. However, let’s think about those words.

First, “don’t be negative” immediately finds fault, implying that the person is doing something wrong. Secondly, the statement dismisses how the person really feels. The assumption is made that a negative feeling needs to be ignored/bypassed/instantly dismissed and instead, a solution to the problem is often suggested. And third, the advice offered is not something that could actually resolve the problem because often it is not a viable solution. If consciously deciding to do or not do something always worked, then we would never need to neutralize anything. Therefore, this kind of statement feels as unhelpful and hurtful as the statement (that we have all heard from time to time and most of us don’t like) of “just get over it.”

More extreme examples would be when we say things like, “She’s just so toxic I can’t be around her.” Or often there is a decision made along the lines of, “I just can’t deal with any more negative people in my life and from now on I’m just going to surround myself with positive people.”

The goal generally is then to get away from a person/s because they are “bad” for you in some way. Yet what I hear is a judgment that someone’s negative behavior, attitudes or words means that they are a bad person. This reminds me of something I learned when my first-born arrived. I was a single parent and as such read everything I could get my hands on as to how to parent. There was much to learn but one thing even now sticks out in my mind. It was the idea that when a child is misbehaving – whether having a temper tantrum, hitting the child next door or purposely wrecking havoc in some way – that we need to be clear with the child that it is the behavior that we don’t like and disapprove of and not the child. It is important for the child to know that we love him or her no matter what. Of course, all children will misbehave in some way. However, the problematic behavior does not define the child as a bad person. It only defines the action.

This is in essence what I’m trying to explain with the derogatory term “negative people”. As adults, the ‘misbehavior’ can become more extreme and more potentially hurtful including emotional, physical and psychological abuse. So it is easy to lose sight of the fact that it is their behavior we do not like. However, like with the child, the behavior does not define the totality of this person, though it sometimes is the knee-jerk reaction we have. When we call people “negative” please understand that this label dismisses the whole person in one blow.

I’m not saying that anyone should stay around people who hurt or abuse. But even though it’s important to take yourself out of the line of fire from behavior that is painful, it doesn’t mean that we need turn around and be hurtful and judgmental back. In fact, there is nothing positive about doing that because what we are doing here is finding fault and thus, we are being negative ourselves.

Also, we don’t like being judged by others either. It hurts and the judgments lack understanding, empathy, and respect. The underlying foundation as to why someone behaves the way they do is so complex that we have no way of knowing (because we can’t look into another person’s soul and mind) what that person is actually going through nor could they know the same about us. And in time, if we thought about it, wouldn’t we most likely not feel good ourselves for having placed those toxic and negative labels on someone else? In reality, these people are as wounded as we are, though they find their own way to cope with the pain, hurt, confusion or self-loathing. Thus, they lash out for their own reasons, like we all have lashed out many times in our own lives or have handled our pain in some other potentially though not intentionally hurtful ways.

My point is that it would be a shame to abuse the highly important concept that ‘thought is powerful energy’ by using thoughts/words as a weapon. In a very real way, judging others as negative also becomes a justification to cast ourselves in the role of the good person and the negative one in the role of a bad person. It’s divisive in nature. In a very real twist of irony, the whole trend to think positively ends up justifying our negative judgments of others!

Lastly, the pervasive attitude that negative thoughts/actions/behaviors are proof of a negative person even have us judging ourselves: “If I were just more positive maybe some good would come into my life.” And with this thought, we pour on more self-criticism and self-attack. The effect of finding fault and blame is the same except that we are now using it against ourselves.

Bottom line: let’s become more conscious and aware. Let’s use some understanding in the same way we have become understanding of the behavior of alcoholics, people with OCD or people who are depressed. Becoming conscious and aware is not the same as excusing the behavior and making it right. But it brings the whole person (including ourselves) into the Light of acceptance and understanding.

– By Janet Richmond, janetrichmond.com
Contact information: janet@janetrichmond.com or 818-516-0248

10 Tips to Staying Youthful

Recently I was at the annual Hay House I Can Do It conference in Pasadena, California. I got to see a number of amazing speakers who addressed the mind, body, spirit collective.

One of the speakers who stood out for me is someone I’ve seen a handful of times before, Dr. Christiane Northrup. A physician, author, mother, inspirational speaker, and pioneer in women’s health, she addressed aging in her keynote on Saturday evening. A couple of the things that she said really stuck with me and they were:

  • Stop telling people your age – I love sharing my age, got to work on this one.
  • Stop acting your age – I’m notorious for not acting like an adult, nailed this one.

Her reasons were pretty clear: we have preconceived ideas about what certain ages should bring. And not only do we have those preconceived ideas, so do other people. It leads to ageism!

YouthfulOver the course of the past week I spent time with a number of my girlfriends and gathered a handful of additional tips for remaining youthful.

  • Laugh – Laugh at yourself, laugh at life, just find something to laugh about daily.
  • Forgive – Holding onto grudges, anger, resentment and all that other negative nonsense puts stress on your body, and stress leads to wrinkles as well is bad health.
  • Move – Get up and dance, run, walk or play if you can. If you can’t, then wiggle your arms and legs or flap them like a bird. Just find a way to move your body joyfully for 20 to 30 minutes a day.
  • Look to the future – Quit focusing on the past. It’s nice to reminisce but having something to look forward to – events, goals, treats, etc. those give you motivation to keep moving forward.
  • Hold on to memories, let go of stuff – Do you really need the stuffed animal your first boyfriend gave you back in high school or the silk flower you got for Mother’s Day 12 years ago? Things require energy and attention and so do people. Where do you think your energy is best spent?
  • Keep learning – Even if it’s learning to brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand, if you continue to learn and expand your knowledge base you have greater likelihood of staving off cognitive impairment associated with aging and you’ll have cool things to talk about with your friends and family – instead of repeating the same old stories.
  • Make new friends – Create new relationships in your life, and not just with people who are exactly like you. By creating and nurturing new relationships you’ll be exposed to new things and you’ll tick off a few of the other items on this list.
  • Find a purpose – Whether you take a job, start a business, do volunteer work or whatever it is, having a purpose that is greater than you, a connection to something that needs you more will continue to motivate you to keep actively participating in this wonderful thing called life.

Read more: My Lesson in Aging Gracefully

copyright Kimberly Rinaldi 2015

3 Irresistible Questions to Get Your First Date Coming Back for More

Guest Post By SARAH SPENCER

So, for whatever reason, you’ve found yourself back in the unenviable position of being in the dating pool. If you have the good fortune of casting your line and reeling in a good catch, how do you keep them interested?

Take a look at David Snyder’s NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) video on “How to Make Someone Love You in 20 Minutes or Less.”

Yes, it’s over an hour, so here are some of the highlights:

1. Is S/he worth my time? Ask open-ended questions first so you don’t invest a lot of time (or money) into a dating disaster. Let’s say you’re at an art opening and there’s a cash bar. You can ask “Hey, great event. Do you know what the drink specials are?” Make it specific and unassuming. If they engage, great! Follow up with “So what brought you here?” Glance at their feet – if toes point toward you, keep going. If not, move on.

2. Career/passion: Lead up with “So, are you here for work or fun?” “What do you do?” and “How did you ‘fall’ into that?” The piece resistance? “What keeps the spark alive – what do you love to do?” Using subtle words like “fun” and “fall” work on the subconscious and start moving the attraction needle in your favor.

3. Childhood experiences: At this point, you can look for a quieter place to talk and ask “I’m curious, where did you grow up?” “Cleveland? What did you used to play?” “You loved to play Batman? Any other games?” “Bikes? A girly bike or banana seat?”

After asking these questions, you are now embedded in these experiences of his/her subconscious.

Reflective listening: Don’t just ask the questions and walk away – be genuinely curious. There is nothing sexier than someone who listens and REMEMBERS what they’ve just heard. Reflective listening is simply repeating the story back to them. DON’T paraphrase – remember the words EXACTLY as they were told to you.

The eyes have it: Make sure you look your potential date by holding their gaze in one eye. No, it’s not a staring contest, just care about what they’re sharing with you, open your heart so you create a heart-to-heart openness trigger. This loving gaze creates a powerful neurological connection.

When I was dating, the minute I stopped making every man I dated “The One,” and just simply enjoyed getting to know someone new, I thoroughly enjoyed going out. By using these questions, the conversations flowed more easily, the connections were deeper and friendships were built long after my dating days were over. My dating experiences inspired my novel, “A Man to Honor You,” a paranormal romance focused on finding your soulmate.

Your soulmate arrives when you feel s/he is no longer missing. Love the ones you’re with and best wishes on making some new (and meaningful) connections.

– Sarah Spencer

The History Behind “I’m Free”

Guest Post By ERIKA KIND

The history behind “I’m Free – Awareness of Who You Are by Discovering Who You Are Not!”

DSC_9289I am the first of three girls in my family. When I was a child and teenager I was taught that I had to get strong: don’t show weakness, don’t cry, bring arguments, stand tall, don’t fail, show results. At least I took this belief over. It was my personality. But I was afraid not to fulfill these expectations in order to not be punished or humiliated. I buried the real Erika since over time she was in my way in order to develop the expected personality. I played a role of which I thought had to be my real me. Over time I did not know who the real me was. I only felt that in certain situations there was something tearing me apart. My heart and mind where fighting a war.

I had no self-esteem since I always checked the opinion of others (important persons in my life) first before I said something. When I was asked or questioned about my opinion I did not know what to say and felt totally embarrassed and lost. That way I said less and less, but inside the frustration grew. My insecurity made me develop lots of fears and I felt myself under permanent pressure to meet the expectations of my surrounding. I started to read books, join seminars and lectures about self-development in order to find out more about myself. One day it was simply too much. I was asking myself: Do you want to live a life which is not yours or do you finally want to stand up and explore your possibilities? I hit rock bottom and therefore knew I couldn’t fall any deeper. I started to embed all I learned and risked complete confusion since everything started to change around me. My husband and I went through a serious crises which almost killed our relationship and therefore our marriage.

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Lessons in Health and Wellness: Make Better Choices

fruitI usually keep pretty healthy snacks on hand. If you’re anything like me, you’re going to go with the path of least resistance. So if there are candies and junk food snacks nearby and available, that’s where I’m going to head – especially if I’m hungry already. Thus proving again: when you fail to plan you plan to fail.

I’m working on a plan for healthier snacks again and here are some of my favorites:

  • Raw unsalted nuts. High in protein and healthy fats. They add antioxidants and fiber to your diet.
  • Dried apples. Chewy and sweet. I kind of have to limit these they are slightly addictive.
  • Energy bars. I prefer Kind Bars because I can choose from protein, fiber, antioxidants, and other health benefits. They are natural and taste fabulous.
  • Parmesan cheese. I actually like to pair this shredded over popcorn and add a little ground pepper.
  • Almond butter. A tablespoon all by itself is often all it takes to curb my hunger.

What do you like to snack on?

Make better choices: Health & Wellness mp3 Meditations

copyright kimberly rinaldi