Beyond Good and Evil - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-19-2017, 01:46 PM Thread Starter
prince charming
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Beyond Good and Evil

Positive thinking ain't going to get you anywhere. This goal can be even counter productive. The distinction between a positive and a negative thought isn't straight forward anyway. What's the yardstick?

Many thoughts I've had would undoubtedly be labeled negative by most, while it has greatly helped me to allow them to exist, to not fight them. Encourage them, even. There's always a reason for them, there's always an interest of mine involved. Even though it often is not apparent right away. These thoughts aren't out there to destroy me. In fact, they have led me inwards, rather, the feelings attached to them. Often quite ferociously. Far beyond the capability of "positive thoughts". Pearls are at the bottom. There ain't no scooping them up from the "happy" surface. Any chance of a blessing in disguise is out of the window if only "positives" are allowed. The substrate wil remain. Patiently waiting there for you to catch you off guard. You ain't going nowhere. This is in you, this is also you. You can run but you can't hide. Not forever. There are things in store for you. Like or dislike has nothing to do with it.

So hand in the towel? Succumb to the abyss? I think there's a better way of looking at it. Here's where the title comes in. There are no positive or negative thoughts. There are only thoughts. They present themselves. You're not behind the wheel. No need to. I'd opt for a pragmatic approach. For making the distinction between constructive and non constructive. Thoughts and emotions are a language. An anker lowering you down to the pearls. You can use them, let them show you the way. Be inquisitive. I can't think of anything more interesting, more important, in fact. It has been my core buisiness for twenty years. There have been times the validity of this mindset, this welcoming of everything form the inside, were questioned. Times when I hit the line of suicide, the end of my ability to cope with the relentless onslaught of emotions. I don't know if I can avoid it in the end. There is such a thing as too much to bear. It's beyond a mindset. Beyond my say in this, really. But I don't regret how I approached what life threw at me. Not a second. I honestly believe this was and is the way to go. Because I don't decide what's inside. What has been there for as long as I can remember.

But the constructive and non constructive. I think thoughts and emotions can be welcomed, encouraged, repressed, denied. It has an effect on what you experience at the moment they present themselves. To some extent, in most cases. The weaker the emotions, the more they can be channeled into certain directions. Since coping capability seems to be a finite source and this is the major league we've been trown in, a degree of portion control is in order. It becomes harder, the stronger the emotions. So that's a bit of a catch-22. Over the course of time, however, there's always room to steer towards diving further in or going towards the surface. You can shift your attention towards it or away from it. The former is my default and I think you can see the pitfall in that. You can't pick the war, but you can pick your battles. To a certain extent. What's constructive and what's not may vary with your coping capability. You can encourage "negativity" too much, beyond the point where it leads you to the pearls, where it swallows you hole. You can repress "negativity" too much too. No growth is there to be found. Denial is to throw the kid out with the bath water. It's a fairy tail too. Life aint like that. It's a delicate balance, an equilibrium, between diving in and taking a break. Between making the best of it now and embracing the greatest pain you can imagine in order to grow, to live. It's only when you cought some pearls, you understand what doesn't kill you truly makes you stronger.

((( connect or perish )))
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-20-2017, 01:24 PM
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I agree, someone who embraces only positive thinking is like someone with CIP, inability to sense physical pain. They have a higher chance of dying younger! So for the greater good, both negative and positive are necessary.

Hmmm, but I can't figure out where that ideal state between confronting and resisting is. I've always had this dilemma about whether it's better to avoid confronting overwhelming dark thoughts or to not resist. If I confront, there is a chance of finding pearls at the bottom, but at the same time, how long will it be before I get to surface again? What if I don't surface this time? At some point, confronting will become simply giving in. How can I tell when confronting is no longer constructive? When I'm in there, how can I see clearly enough to get back out? I can only tell in retrospect that I've strayed too far and overstayed. And then I'm not too sure I've even found the pearl. Maybe I just find pieces of the map that might lead me to the pearl.

Then if you don't know at what point confronting is past constructive, and you fall off the equilibrium again and again, it seems to make it easier to happen again next time. It's such a sensitive business.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-20-2017, 05:23 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by secret history View Post
...I can only tell in retrospect that I've strayed too far and overstayed...
Thanks for pitching in secret history. It's an art navigating that territory isn't it? I can't offer you much advice, I'm afraid. I've overdone it on many occasions too. I usually go by intuition. I rely on that for the most part when it comes to things like this. Sometimes I don't even know what the hell would be the right thing to do or it simply happens because it's so overwhelming. I do think you have a lead though. With the quote above. The more you can look back on, the better your feeling for it, the greater your understanding, must become. Come to think of it, it may be a good rule of thumb to lean a bit towards the side you're least inclined to lean towards in order to prevent overdoing it. In my case I should steer away from it more often. Many years passed before I could see that. Many years of coinciding with pain to a great extent. What other option than to navigate this as best as we can do we have, really?

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-20-2017, 05:42 PM
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Dawkins: “The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, many others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are slowly being devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst, and disease. It must be so. If there ever is a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in the population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored. In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”

There's some happy thoughts. </sarcasm>

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-20-2017, 11:15 PM
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This is fascinating. I noticed that my minset is quite similar to the one that you have. However, the brain is wired to categorize thoughts and emotions as either positive or negative. The brain associates negative emotions with negative thoughts, etc. Yes you can simply not think those thoughts or you can try to avoid the emotions associated with negative thoughts, but it wont really get you far. Thats why what i find that works is to observe the thoughts without letting them negatively affect you. You can think about your problems, thoughts, things that frustrate you, etc, without letting them negatively affect you. Yes the mind is wired to make you feel negative emotions when thinking of negative thoughts, and like you said things that are too much to bear go beyond having a mindset, since as psychologically sophisticated organisms we are structured to experience emotions and to ignore those emotions would be to live in an illusion. But we can generally have the mindset of observing thoughts/emotions without letting them affect our happiness/state of mind.
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