People sometimes tease me for my super positive attitude. I get bah-humbugs when I try to encourage certain folks and find it soooooooooo sad, since they are choosing to be unhappy. I truly don’t get it but I guess some folks have had bad times and can’t get past them to wrap their heads around a more positive expectation. Or they may be afraid to feel hopeful, and get let down again. Many have negative notions about having a positive attitude.
I’m delighted to have Tina Su, who writes the blog, Think Simple Now, back as my guest blogger. She posted The 5 Myths of Positive Mental Attitude and I found her response to them to be very enlightening. So I asked if I could excerpt some of it. You can read the whole thing on her site. She certainly has some great arguments for why calling positive people cheesy is full of holes!
The 5 Myths of Positive Mental Attitude
I frequently get asked about positive thinking, and I wanted to first clear up some points of confusion.
With so many myths about positive mental attitude (PMA), it’s important to separate the truth from the fiction. Let’s explore some of these myths and dive into the truths behind them.
Myth #1: Negative thinking is more realistic.
Have you ever heard a negative person say that they aren’t negative; they’re just being ‘realistic’? This myth keeps people locked in a negative reality of their own creation.
A person’s thoughts, whether positive or negative, do have an effect on their environment. If you think negatively, your mind will automatically seek out confirmation that the world is a terrible place. Seeing is believing, and your mind reinforces your belief that reality is negative. See how it’s a downward spiral of negativity? If you expect negative results, you are less likely to take risks and try new things. Negative thinking masks your impressions in fear.
Myth #2: People with a PMA expect moneybags to fall out of the sky if they wish for them.
Those who don’t believe in positive thinking imagine that positive thinkers expect that their desire will manifest itself if they simply think positively about it. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Everyone who accomplishes anything – whether it’s earning a million dollars or becoming an award-winning actor – accomplish it the same way: by taking action. Positive people have an edge because they believe the object of their desire is attainable. They come from a ‘can-do’ mindset.
Myth #3: Positive thinking doesn’t change reality
People who believe this myth see a problem and believe that positive thinking will only ignore the ugliness of their reality. The truth is positive thinking doesn’t ignore the problem; it helps you see the problem in a new light. In fact, you don’t even see ‘problems’ as problems. Think about it; regardless of how you react to an external situation, the situation will still be the same. If being upset doesn’t change the outcome of a past situation, wouldn’t it serve you, and your health, to see the positives?
Myth #4: Positive thinkers have no clue about the real world.
It’s easy to believe that people with a positive mental attitude have perfect lives and never dealt with real world hardships. Maybe people wouldn’t be so positive if they’d endured a few difficult times in their lives. But the truth is that this is really just a justification for negative thinking.
I don’t know a positive person who hasn’t had real and serious trials in their lives. They’ve faced disappointment, death of loved ones, physical handicap, and pretty much the range of human experiences we all deal with. The difference is that these people didn’t let those experiences change their outlook. A positive mental attitude means that you are in control of your own thoughts and feelings.
Myth #5: People with a PMA are annoying and cheesy.
Okay, let’s admit it, some types of positive people are a little cheesy. We’re talking about the kind who spout platitudes and expect everything to be perfect no matter what. But truly positive people aren’t Tony Robbins infomercials. Positive people have real thoughts and have setbacks and discouragement just like everyone else, but they are also resilient and look for ways to stay positive. And that’s not cheesy, it’s just healthy thinking! And smart living!