Positive thinking: make sure your mind doesn’t fly away. Personal experience

You can be ashamed of the experience, keep it to yourself, never tell anyone. Let your reputation be crystal clear. But the damage that positive thinking can do is far worse and more unpleasant than just a teenage experience where some uncles and aunts told you about a better life and you fell for it. I want some kids, teens, adults to have time to read about my experience before they take the plunge themselves. This is one of those times when it is better to read from strangers than to experience it for yourself.

At some point it catches up with you. It comes abruptly, without warning. It wants to make your life better. Yes, yes, this positive thinking is a trend that took off in the 2010s (I didn’t catch the earlier waves physically, so let’s consider it a recurring trend). Positive thinking in and of itself is not that scary. Just positive thinking! just thinking! But we’re hitting a mental health hazard.

My acquaintance with this direction began with the movie «The Secret». I was more than a dozen years younger then, my head was just beginning to absorb the knowledge of this world. And I had the misfortune to watch it. No, it wasn’t bad. It was great! Such a charge of emotion, energy, inspiration! After all, now anything is possible! When there are no loved ones around who believe in you, the film gives you everything you need — the experience of people who succeeded just because they dreamed the right way, and your support — because the film speaks to you personally throughout the entire running time. It’s as if it was made and published especially for you. Wonderful and so naive.

Positive thinking is a person’s focus on all that is good. No matter what happens, you get up, shake it off, and move on. The movie «The Secret» takes this approach further: if you are grateful to fate and see positive vibrations in everything, with the right attitude, you can attract all the good things you want.

Then all the topical publications begin to stick to you geometrically. Vadim Zeland with his «Transurfing Reality», Osho with his quotes about life, Joe Vitale with «The Key». Turn it, and you open the mystery of attraction” … I think you can guess where I got sucked in.

I’m the one who now understands the marketing methods they were using, what they were pushing. Why they took the shot. And why they continue to write book after book, each time saying — now I definitely need to buy, now all the most meaty and secret will tell.

Next thing I know, I start surrounding myself with this topic. I subscribe to the pubs, communicate with people like me, who also have already learned. And the atmosphere is so lamplight. We all understand each other. We all have a secret knowledge about life, and it’s a pity those fools who deny it. Or haven’t had time to learn it yet.

It’s a good time to run a positive thinking checklist on sectarianism. Read «Cautionary Signs of Dangerous and Signs of Safe Groups/Leaders».

About the group itself.

Absolute authoritarianism… Doesn’t sound like it.
No tolerance for questions…
Not noticed.
No clear financial public reports… This movement has no reports.
It’s not an organization.
Unreasonable fears about the outside world…
Not noticed.
There is no legitimate reason to leave the group/leader…
No.
Former members (of the group) often tell similar stories of abuse and reproduce a similar pattern of complaints…
Well, there is something.
There are descriptions, books, news articles or television programs that document this group/leader’s abuse…
It’s a matter of how you look at it.
Followers feel they can never be “good enough”…
Definitely not.
The group/leader is always right/right…
Maybe.
The group/leader are the only means of knowing “the truth” or confirming the truth, no other process of obtaining information is truly acceptable or trustworthy…
Middle.

About the people in it.

Extreme obsession with the group/leader… A little bit.
Individual identity, the group, the leader and/or God as distinct (non-conforming) and autonomous categories of being become more and more erased, blurred…
No.
Whenever a group/leader is criticized or questioned, it is characterized as “persecution” ….
Not noticed.
Atypical (unusual) high-handed (stilted, pompous) and seemingly programmed communication and mannerisms, absolute copying (cloning) of the group/leader in personal behavior… In places it matches.
Dependence on the group/leader for problem solving, decision making, and formulation without clear reflective reflection…
No.
Hyperactivity focused on the agenda…
No.
Dramatic loss of spontaneity and sense of humor…
Not observed.
Increased isolation from family and old friends if they show no interest in the group/leader…
Unless that’s what the followers themselves want.
Anything the group/leader does can be justified regardless of how rude or harmful it is…
Not sure.
Former followers are seen as negative or even worse evil at best and (as being) under bad influences…
Not noticed.

Of the 20 items, not one sure «Yes» and six «Maybe». It’s hard to call that a cult. Well, that may be comforting and reassuring, but we’re not done yet.

It would have been time for me to grab my head at that moment, but I don’t see the harm. I have positive rules of life, desires, goals, and an understanding of how to achieve more with just a mindset. I don’t need counselors or mentors, everything is already in my head and I’m off to adventure. Bravely go for it.

The forgetting curve or Ebbinghaus curve says that if there is no consistent repetition of the information received, it dissipates. Thinking is no longer involved. I was the initiator of consistent repetition-no one forced me, I was sure I was doing it right.

My personal thinking, which came from strangers, is a few years old. I don’t know them at all, but only see the beautiful picture they have created for themselves. Well, they won’t cheat. We’re all about the good here, aren’t we? And then, as in a typical movie scene, I begin to notice other people. No, no, not the ones who have their own positive thinking and somehow get along with it. But quite others who haven’t heard of it at all, or if they have, they dont want hear.

New information

A very interesting thing happened as I began to move away from this direction. As abruptly as it came into my life, so abruptly I stopped believing in it. It was like being doused in cold water, and I was like «Well, yes, I understand now, thank you».

Real life suddenly happened to me. From a teenager who only had the rules of life, but no experience itself, I had experience, and it was strongly supplanting everything unnecessary. Let’s just say that when you start learning everything, not just what you like, it rationalizes.

The most dangerous thing happened — my psyche was readjusting to a new approach to life, and life had just appeared. Here it should be noted that in addition to rational thoughts, I began to learn a lot of new things about myself. For example, that there was a systemic anxiety disorder running in my family, which I inherited in chunks. I would find this out much later than I «magically» began to change my life at the age of 12.

I was replacing an anxious approach with a positive one, and then it broke me. I had to reassemble. Something inevitably fell off — but it got easier.

Only when I began to listen and hear other people attentively and analyze other people’s experiences did I become ashamed of myself — what have I done! After all, only a lot of work, a lot of effort and time can bring results, and no miraculous thoughts about this world can carry you far ahead. Yes, the followers of «The Secret» and «Reality Transurfing» also add that you have to do something to make your wishes come true, too. But the whole focus is on your thoughts. Just try to think the wrong way. And you will do it somehow, we believe in you.

What’s wrong with that?

Positive thoughts are not bad when you can control them and apply them appropriately. But if it becomes your lifestyle, you are forced to let them in even where you shouldn’t have. Loss of loved ones (mental or physical), relationship and self-awareness problems, friends, finances, networking at work-anything where there may be a hitch or a breakdown has already occurred is replaced by «goodness» and «joy», which you must seek from the outside. I wasn’t reliving the trauma, but replacing it with a positive approach. I didn’t analyze the source of the problem- I accepted that it had happened, and I just moved on. I forgot to see the bad and only saw the good, so I created a whole bunch of problems that I had to clean up over the next few years.

I had brought myself to the point of absurdity, all because my maximalism, so typical of adolescence, had gained ground and pulled ahead of everything else.

ICD 10 (International Classification of Diseases, Version 10) states that mental disorders are caused by «perverse adaptive reactions to severe or prolonged stress». And PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) appears as a «delayed or prolonged response to a stressful event».

Okay, that’s all in the past. There shouldn’t be this kind of game now. The next generation can breathe easy. Or wait…

Books are still being printed…

Courses are being made…

Channels are being created…

Every third publick or post from an «expert» can glimpse the advice to worry less and live more. And how many of those who do not talk about it directly, but their whole life is built on such a foundation. Just like I did. It’s funny, when I come across someone’s thoughts and approaches to life based on «positivity». I can clearly see past myself. This seems like something that will always be publish. So, we need to act differently.

Back to the Future

I can’t go into every house and shout, «Work through the trauma — the consequences will be terrible», «Don’t run away from bad thoughts — they’re just indicators». All I can do is tell you what I have brought myself to, how it has affected me, and what I am doing to stay rational.

I’m a little embarrassed to post advice along the lines of «do this and don’t that». After all, I’m not a psychotherapist or psychiatrist, my work is about other things. And I can’t do methodologies without experience in working through such things with other people — anything that’s bad for me might just be neutral for the other person. Forcing others to blow on the milk would be strange. So I’m going to try to go back in time with you, even if only mentally, and tell that little girl how things could have been done differently.

First, I would have checked for the disorder first. If there were problems finding the right doctor in a small town, I would have gone online.

I don’t want to just go and check my psyche, when there are no prerequisites, of course. But there was a big clue — when I was studying the positive thinking approach, from time to time the words «transformation», «new life» and «restructuring of the mind» came up. These were obvious triggers for me, but I treated them with confidence: if something went wrong, it wouldn’t hurt me significantly. Had I known that I had an anxiety disorder, I wouldn’t have had that confidence.

Secondly, I wouldn’t just be looking for «positive experiences», who «helped» and who is «happy». If this system is so good, then I shouldn’t be afraid to look for bad things — they just wouldn’t be there or they wouldn’t be significant. I didn’t do it then, because I was afraid I would find it. And once I find it, I won’t have the «magic »pill anymore.

Thirdly, I would check the scientific data. Did psychologists and psychotherapists practice this approach in their work, were there studies of scientists in the world community, was there an official base with statistics? Of course, it is hard to believe that I would go looking for such a thing, when I was 12. But having the first two points would make the third more likely. Chain after chain, and here I already had my own evidence base.

In the end, the conclusion would ask itself — before you introduce something important on mind that can affect you, do not be afraid to test it.

I wanted to tell my story and support anyone who may be going through the same thing. I hope I succeeded ❤❤

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