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self-mastery journal

positive thinking is a full-time job.

After my friend killed himself, I immediately turned to “positive thinking” self-help.

Napoleon Hill, Rhonda Byrne, David Schwartz, Brian Tracy, and others convinced me that thinking positively would attract positive circumstances in my life. So that’s what I did. I was a positive-thinking beast, with visualizations and affirmations aplenty. Any negative thoughts suffocated in the sweet syrupy goodness of positivity.

But I began to feel worse about myself. No matter how much I said, “I like myself,” it couldn’t change the fact that deep down, I hated myself.

My mind was its own thought police, working endless hours to deny deficient programming with optimistic lies. As with any soul-sucking work, eventually something just snaps.

The emotional floodgates opened and positive thinking went out the back door. Putrid negative thoughts surfaced, and I surrendered to them. It was ugly. The tempest lasted several months, but equilibrium was restored. I now let positive AND negative thinking have a say.

Trying to push the positive while avoiding the negative is a soul-sucking full-time job with terrible hours. By quitting, you may lose security, but you gain equanimity.