I am all for Positive Psychology. I believe that optimism and a positive attitude are vital to help us achieve our goals. Negative thinking is a malaise that can keep us from being productive in our life and even lead to mental health problems such as depression. But I think there are dangers with the popular understanding of “positive thinking”.
1. Positive thinking can just be lying
I believe that we need to be authentic – that is we need integrity, to be true to ourselves and to be honest. There is a problem with positive thinking that it can work against these.
Yes, there is value in challenging and replacing our automatic negative thoughts. But sometimes this can be done very ineffectively by repeating over-optimistic statements that are blatantly not true.
OK you might not be lying to other people but actually there can be something self deceptive about positive confessions that is not healthy
2. Positive thinking might stop you being prepared
This can lead to us failing to prepare for real possibilities because we will not allow ourselves to think that they may happen.
It is important to take health and safety precautions seriously – to stay inside if there is a severe weather warning or to wear a seatbelt in your car.
We also might need to save ‘for rainy day’.
3. Positive thinking can be treated like a sort of magic.
If you say something enough… if you focus your mind on it happening… then… you say to yourself, then… it must happen!
But really to make things happen we need to take practical positive steps towards them. There is an important key to making your dreams come true that is often overlooked. It is hard work!
These are some of the dangers with positive thinking that I see. Perhaps I’m over reacting. What do you think?