This post was originally published at http://yotostudio.com/the-cult-of-positivity/
The cult of positivity has seemingly good intentions. Within certain mental frameworks, orientations, people can encourage their personal trajectory with focus to work toward creating the goals they wish to make. The counterparts to this kind of activity when they become out of balance, can lead toward more stress and even wishful thinking.
Wishful thinking rarely delivers upon the cult of positivity’s promises of a sunnier tomorrow. The people who are promoting happiness often have another agenda-sometimes something to do with empowerment, sometimes to do with an ideal or image of “how you ought to be.” Happiness can become a badge of success. As if who wants to accidentally cause themselves harm by hanging out with unhappy people. The thing about happiness, is it is not a state of being, it is a sense or emotion within the body. Attempting to achieve a perpetual state of being for the sake of an idea about what is normal, or natural from the outside in, can have serious ramifications upon the psyche of the individual partaking in the perpetual pick-me-up business. Things digress from good intention, towards manipulation and then internalized self-manipulation. Attempting to change things with wishes and vision-boarding alone doesn’t empower anyone. It actually disables people. When wishes turn into goals, and vision boarding is used as a tool toward maintaining focus while working toward a goal, this is an entirely different, and potentially useful, activity. The difference is in developing discernment.
The cult of positivity can also contain something more insidious, and that is potential for inadvertent victim-blaming. When people become so busy within their own lives, stressed, and over-taxed, they are not capable of extending a two-way line of communication to people who are seeking guidance something strange can happen. This strange thing leads people toward wondering and perhaps asking themselves, “what, what just happened.” When a person partakes in an action that removes another person’s experience, such as, “well that’s your problem,” or “you’ll work it out,” or “try to think about it this way and everything will work out better,” the message that can come across to someone in a vulnerable situation as another kick while they are down. Victim-blaming tends to annihilate or create a sense of erasure from the suffering someone is partaking in.
By encouraging someone to manipulate their own thoughts and feelings, is like encouraging someone in a prison to take on a straight jacket. Mentally wrangling ourselves into feeling or thinking something that does not jive with what’s going on inside the body will not make anyone, or any society any better, or more positive. This is not to say it is any one’s personal responsibility to offer guidance, but that if we look objectively over the course of our lives, there are often more times than we can remember where we made our way into a goal by the assistance of other people. A good example could be when a singular person has made a discovery, a creation that is celebrated, people are often thanking a large list of names. People who achieve their large goals have this kind of understanding. In as short as a few deep breaths, we can find ourselves the kind of time to consider, perhaps someone is seeking information and to learn ways towards working out of an unhealthy situations. This half a minute-or five minute exchange can be incredibly powerful practice. And with practice, many activities become easier, require less effort from us. And the useful parts about offering this kind of relating are nearly endless but often involve learning, sensations of joy or satisfaction.
Excessive emotional taxation, such as the demand or expectation to be nonstop friendly remains pervasive in many consumer cultures as the idea that happiness sells more products. This is simply not true, as there are a number of cultural phenomena that sell well, such as cynicism. There is also a lot of money people are making in depression.
The thing to begin doing is not to run away from ourselves or try to outsmart cultural waves as they come at us through streams of media. The most useful thing we all still have available to us, is our bodies. The body has an uncanny ability to provide senses, such as sensations of tension and unease as the preliminary experiences before developing into something more serious or potentially life threatening. Some people become scared when thinking in the terms of prevention, and logistically so. The idea there is something to prevent puts the mind in the framework of the future. And we are never in the future, not yet. We are always right here. And so starting from the orientation of being right here, and then seeing: ok this is where I want to go. Let’s use this example of excellent or radiant health, then you are in the position of now, creating the health you want in the future. Which puts you toward steps and choices which create health right now. And people get so involved with what they are doing now, forgetting about the prevention/fear mode of working, which tends to go on nonstop fixing, they someone find themselves healthy, and quite often wholly content.
And when people feel whole, content, life and all its parts whether rough or sad, confusing or crappy, happy or blissful, life flows in a state of balance that ebbs in flows within an area that feels natural. The boundaries don’t come from an ideal, or group of people, the boundary comes from within. The sensation of the body where all feels in balance. This sense of harmony, ability to withstand and navigate around disharmonies, grows, over time. And the cult of positivity, become other cultural phenomena people look back upon, and say what was that all about? Can you believe what people were thinking? The social stream becomes background noise, scenery along the way.
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Reality consists of all kinds of forces. Positive and others. The utopian view of a place exists in our minds and spirits. Here is a view of the Los Angeles area toward Catalina Island.