Four Additional Ways Positive Thinking Creates Negativity in Our LivesMay 8, 2019
Four Additional Ways Positive Thinking Creates Negativity in Our Lives
In this week’s Wisdom In Transition blog, we will further explore additional ways that positive thinking causes us to think and feel negatively about ourselves.
Overgeneralization: “I’m a Failure If I Fail”
The first way absolute positive thinking causes us to fail and view ourselves negatively is by the emotional thought pattern of overgeneralization. This deceptive emotional thought pattern creates the tendency to view ourselves from an absolute perspective, which causes us to internally talk to ourselves in sweeping negative terms and to falsely believe that “we cannot fail.” This deceptive emotional thought pattern works against our being successful by having us assume that no matter how much we achieve our goals, if there was any gray area whatsoever, then we have not been successful. Overgeneralization works against success by causing us to focus on what could stop us from achieving our goals while ignoring the benefits of being successful.
Overreacting: Small Negative Thing, Big Negative Response
Another fallacious emotional thought pattern of absolute positive thinking is that of overreacting which causes us to blow insignificant things way out of proportion. Small “wrongs” trigger major negative responses in our lives, and cause us to exaggerate what we perceive as being negative.
The emotional thought pattern of overreacting creates the tendency to come down hard on ourselves which reinforces our being our own harshest critics. Overreaction creates a negative mental formula: negative subjects or events trigger negative self-talk, and the outcome is negative results in our lives. For example, when people are asked: “What are you going to do after your leave your company?” it triggers the thought pattern: “What the heck is wrong with me, since I don’t have the foggiest idea of what I am going to do with my life?” This often results in a harmful decision: “I am going to stop the discussion of leaving my company anytime that the subject is brought up.”
Jumping to Negative Conclusions: “I Know It Won’t Work Out”
Jumping to negative conclusions is another “emotional thought pattern.” The need of people who use absolute positive thinking to make decisions quickly in order to not deal with ambiguity or uncertainty creates the tendency for us to believe negative conclusions about ourselves without giving them any careful thought or analysis.
The “emotional thought pattern” of jumping to conclusions creates the false beliefs that: “ I don’t measure up” or “I’m never good enough” which results in prejudging the idea of making a personal transition by assuming that it is not going to work out. The false conclusion stops many people from thinking about the whole idea of “what’s next” which leaves their futures open to chance. Another way the deceptive emotional thought pattern of “jumping to conclusions” interferes with making a successful transition is by a process known as negative forecasting which causes people to imagine that the transition process will turn out badly based on no logical reasoning.
Inferiority: “I Don’t Measure Up”
When we don’t live up to our ideal standards or achieve unattainable goals, the either/ or basis of absolute positive thinking causes us to feel like failures, and it further confirms the negative beliefs about ourselves that have been repressed by absolute positive thinking. The emotional thought pattern of inferiority causes us to think negatively about ourselves which reinforces negative personal convictions. Believing that who we are doesn’t measure up leads to the conviction that who we are has no value and that what we have to say or do is equally of no value to other people.
The emotional thought pattern of inferiority often causes people to feel second-rate to others who they believe are more intelligent, attractive, social or successful than they are. It makes them feel bad for not coming from a perfect background, being perfect, doing everything perfectly. Measuring ourselves to the absolute standards of perfectionism often results in our having low opinions of ourselves and feeling frustration and a deep sense of powerlessness.
The expanded awareness of balanced thinking helps you realize that absolute positive thinking creates a self-reinforcing feedback loop which causes us to feel negative about ourselves and creates the need to always think positively which is an overcompensation for feeling bad.
Balancing the way you think counterbalances the negative effects of absolute positive thinking by having you correctly believe that: “I do measure up.” You can fail and it can be a great learning experience. Balanced thinking offsets the emotional thought pattern of oversimplification and helps you realize that you are not a failure if you fail because what you do does not define who you are. Another way balanced thinking counterbalances the emotional thought pattern of oversimplification is by helping you discover the true positive facts of who you really are and focus on the details that need to be addressed for successful outcomes.
Questions: Which do you think is more empowering: I have to think positively or I choose to think positively? Of the two statements: I have to think positively or I choose to think positively, which one do you think is a dogmatic belief and which statement reflects the power of balance?
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