There are so many wonderful shares on the social media networks. It’s great to see various positive quotes about healing to support our community, family, friends, or neighbors. Reminding others to be optimistic and positive can raise them from a place of despair to, at least, a glimpse of light or hope; and, that is a good thing! Frankly speaking, though, this is not a form of deep healing to uncover true happiness.
After a while, you get this bottleneck of meaningful messages that lose their potency. For sure, positive psychology has its place. I am a supporter of this field. Nonetheless, let us consider the individuals that have suffered deeply and need more intense healing. What I see happening is that this field is creating various personas filled with masked hurts, anger, pain, and deep despair. Is the positive thinking, holding these individuals back from really healing what is harboring deep inside?
There is a huge wave going on in this world today making it almost impossible not to believe anything different. When we get caught up in these social waves, we lose our critical thinking cap. The mentality is, because everyone else is doing it, it must be right. Is positive psychology just another wave to conform to a way of living that others keep promoting but, in the end, the results are still the same? Meaning, there is no deep internal change because of the avoidance to the source of the problem.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), approx. 1 in 4 Americans are diagnosed each year with low self-esteem (lack of self-worth) as an underlying issue. Consumption of antidepressants is soaring not declining. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that there has been an increase of 400% in antidepressant prescriptions in the last two decades. Is this wave of positive psychology really working?
Cognitive-behavioural therapy works wonders especially after the deep hurts have been resolved. Nevertheless, let us not forget about the many victims of odious crimes that cannot quickly turn on the positive attitude. So then, how do we uncover true happiness for the deeply hurt?
First, metaphorically speaking let me give an example about what happens to the congestion of messes that never get resolved or cleaned up. A cow Pasteur has many piles of dung (unresolved issues). You tip toe around the piles to get where you need to go (avoidance). You are always on guard and anxious because you are never sure if you’re going to step in a pile of mess and make a bigger mess (fear that words, thoughts, and emotions may arise and you won’t know what to do with them). Sooner or later, you would think that the best thing to do is to take a shovel and begin cleaning this mess up (confronting your pain). For many, though, this may seem like too much work, so, instead, you throw sweet smelling flowers (positive thinking) on the dung and continue to ignore it. In the end, though, the dung is still covering much of the Pasteur, and, its presence still smells bad (negative thoughts not resolved are still harbouring within your mind and body causing physical, mental, and emotional discomfort). To add, the pile up (congestion) starts to get onto other things that pass through the Pasteur (other relationships). As a result, you become hypersensitive (reactive) to every situation because you have to be extremely cautious to where you walk and how you place yourself (and what you say). You have to make sure you keep balance; otherwise, if you fall down, it will be a disaster (life will fall apart and you will not be in control anymore).
For this reason, placing a blanket of positive thinking will not change a thing, internally; thus, it reflects externally. In the end, the heavy dark pit in the bowels of your belly will remain. Here is a Sufi Parable that is so fitting in this moment.
An old man was walking home late one night when he saw a friend on his knees under a street light, searching for something.
“What are you doing?” he asked his friend.
“I dropped the key to my house.”
“I’ll help you look.”
After a few minutes of frustrated searching, the old man asked,
“Where exactly were you when you dropped this key?”
His friend pointed toward the darkness, “Over there.”
“Then why are you looking for it here?”
“Because this is where the light is.”
To conclude, healing takes deep soulful work. By clearing up the mess at its source, you uncover true happiness. A huge hollow empty space becomes you. The lotus flower rises to the surface and you gain crystal clarity. You finally begin to see your own beauty.