Category Archives: critique of self help

Positive Thinking and other self help fumbles

For the past 20 years or so the quick fix self help gurus have placed a nauseating amount of emphasis on the application of “Positive Thought” as a cure all for all social problems. From overcoming  poverty to finding convenient parking spaces we are told to visualize our needs and to apply positive energy to these thoughts and we will be blessed with whatever it is that our little hearts desire. I realize this may seem to be a gross oversimplification and it probably is but truthfully for every one educator/life coach or mentor who truly understands the use of positive energy it seems there are 5 more who toss the notion around like little band aids hoping they will stick and take away all our owies. And if they don’t stick it’s probably because we did something wrong, we picked at it or maybe our skin wasn’t clean enough for the band aid to adhere properly…or we just didn’t really believe it would work.

Well of course it didn’t work and here’s why. Many of us don’t believe it will work, not because we don’t want it to, but because we’ve never been taught how to develop that velcro skin that picks up all the good stuff. We’re more like teflon when it comes to positive energy. We do this because we have discovered time and time again that any thing good and comforting and healing that comes our way must certainly come at a cost and with some hidden agenda.
And therefore we do pick at the band aids, peeking to see if our wounds are indeed healing or if they are secretly festering and and growing beneath the veil of the band aid. We have a firmly entrenched sense of mistrust, well sealed within our teflon shell not because we want to but because at some time in our lives we had to. It kept us safe from the unpredictable and confusing gestures that have been handed us in the guise of love, only to reveal the narcissistic craving that was so well concealed in the pretty picture of love and concern. You can trap more flies with honey than with vinegar as my grandmother used to say, and any predator worth their salt knows that fact all to well. They rely upon the strategy as their primary method of entrapment. Then when things go wrong and we become hurt, we are soothed with the insidious plea that begs us to remember that it was all done to us out of love and concern…how dare we feel hurt or angry when someone was merely acting out of love and in the interest of our well being.
It should come as no surprise then that when some sweet talking agent of personal growth comes along telling us that we simply need to focus on the positive, if we don’t immediately dismiss them from our lives, we may desperately want to believe them. We may even try to apply their suggestions, but we are unable to make it work.
And sadly many of us do try to make it work only to end up berating ourselves for our inability to follow the simple formula for happiness.
The bottom line is one cannot slap a bandage on a very well established wound with out first cleansing the the injury and removing any shards of emotional shrapnel that may be trapped within. Once we have done this we stand a good chance to benefit from certain applications of the Happy Band-aid Process.
 Stay tuned tomorrow for a follow up post to discuss cleansing the wounds and what and what not to expect from all those Happy Thoughts we can apply to keep them safe.

Be Safe,

© 2010-2011 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard