The Dark Side of Positive Thinking

There is a dark side of positive thinking that nobody wants to talk about. They brush it off, ignore it. For me, I go through periods where it eats away at my belief.

One of the strongest ways to build a belief is to have experiences that support it. The second strongest is to hear stories of others that support it. How do you believe that your thoughts create your reality when there are experiences that say otherwise?

Friday night, I watched Farrah’s Story on NBC about Farrah Fawcett’s battle with anal cancer. It was heartbreaking. This beautiful woman, who has a wonderfully positive spirit is battling something that she seems to have no control over that is running amuck throughout her body. When she feels the most healthy, the most alive, the most positive, when she truly believes that she is on the way to healing, she learns that more cancerous lesions are growing in her liver and on her anus. How can that not rock your sense of belief that we have control over life?

I have read very little about how to rationalize these situations, basically because there is no perfect way to go about it. Here are some attempts that have been made:

1. The most esoteric: The individual is the only mind that exists, and we experience and see in others only those things we believe in. Because we believe in cancer, disease, crime, hate, anger, those things exist in the world that we observe. If we did not believe in, and observe, negativity, it would not exist. Essentially, everything that we “see” happening to someone else is really only happening in our own mind.

2. The most insensitive: Because I am not Farrah, because I am not in her mind, in her subconscious, I cannot know what she believes on that level. I do not know what beliefs she is holding from her past that are supporting her disease.

3. The most religious: God gives us struggles to make us stronger.

4. The second most religious: Disease comes from the devil.

5. A belief from my past: Good is always followed by bad.

I know that positive thinking works. I have seen it work in my own life. However, I do get shaken by stories of others. I question when the hard working business owner who has put all of his savings and passion into his business loses it. I question when a child or spouse is abused. I question when the majority of an entire nation is hungry and in poverty. I question in my own life as well.

Here are my thoughts about 1 through 5. One is out there. One takes an open new age mind. One feels the best to me because it gives me more control. If I work on building love and healing within myself, I will see love and healing in the world. But yes, that is a lot of pressure. It is a ton of pressure to think that we are responsible for the reality in our own lives. Now we are also responsible for the reality in another person’s life? This belief is the quote from Ghandi “Be the change you want to see in the world.” It is the basis for affirming for others. First we affirm for ourselves because we only observe what is going on within us, even if it looks like it is showing up in someone else.

Two puts the onus on the individual with the negative circumstance. “You are sick because you believe you are sick.” On the surface that lacks empathy. The part of this that does make sense to me, is that, if everything, everything, starts at thought, then disease also starts as thought. It must have an energetic mind component present to keep it going. When I starve negativity, I do see it disappear. It makes sense at the level of energy, but it can open the doors of insensitivity. And it makes zero sense to me when it comes to children who are sick or abused. It is an easier belief to embrace when you believe it about yourself, but it feels unkind to believe it about someone else.

Three has always made me feel like I am subject to the whims of what God knows is best for me. While there is some comfort in knowing that there are benefits that can be gained from trials, it does not leave room for feeling empowered to choose the experiences you want to have. When I think about why I was born with VATER Association, I decided to take on the belief my Mom put forward that I chose this experience, this path. That thought always gave me a feeling of empowerment. Since I chose this path, there has to be purpose behind it. That led me to embrace the experience and get the most out of it. It is the opposite of feeling like God decided to burden me with VATERS instead of all of the other children born that I am supposed to be equal with in His eyes.

Four, I flat out do not believe in the devil. End of story.

The fifth theory became a belief of mine when I was in the fourth grade. I held onto it for over 15 years. I used to become really scared when everything was going well in life because I was convinced that it could not continue forever; eventually something awful was going to happen to balance things out. My life did demonstrate this belief until I consciously decided that I did not want to believe that anymore. I wanted to believe that things could be great and get better from there.

I have not reconciled how I feel about stories like this. In my own life, I have chosen to take on the responsibility and empowerment of thinking positively. When things are not as I wish they would be, I delve deep into my thoughts to try to change my circumstances. Sometimes this works quickly, sometimes slowly and sometimes it is a mystery. However, I have found that it is better than waiting for things to change by outside forces.

As for Farrah, others, and for myself, the deep pain and frustration remains. The dark side of positive thinking is not yet fully light. All I can do for now is believe more strongly in love and healing and pray that everything negative has a positive present even if I do not know where it is hiding.

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