I know how bad it is for me to repeat positive affirmations to try to lift my self-esteem. As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m working hard to erase self-esteem as a concept. The more I tell myself that I am a good person, the worst I feel. I’ve been thinking a lot about why, and I always come to the same conclusion, it feels like lying to myself. I may be a good person, but I know I ain’t where I would like to be. I know I am capable of more, not for other people but for myself. I’ve met a lot of people who try to live always smiling and being optimist. I don’t deny the importance of optimism and smiling, but I know how much sadness and fear usually hides behind all that smiling. It’s like a religion, like if being optimist all the time will make positive things happen. It’s like believing in a greater magical power that will bring us happiness just by putting on a smily mask.
My experiences taught me that over-optimism is like over-pessimism, it makes us see things under a filter and we take decisions that aren’t really our own. For me, it’s a PTSD signal. Some may say that being optimist all the time is the equivalent of going with the flow. But as I understand it, over-optimism is a need of control. And it gives an illusion of control for a time.
Positive thinking can actually make us give up on ourselves by underestimating our own abilities. Positive thinking blinds our ability to see the whole picture, so instead of self-developing and improving our environments we choose to see an imaginary picture of happiness, we tend to choose an illusion in hope that self-developing and environment improving happens by itself. We underestimate our abilities. Positivism and optimism can be a signal of deep unhappiness and denial.
Optimism has become a social pressure, a sort of religion. We use a lot of energy trying to replace our negative thoughts by positive thoughts. When we fail to do it we feel bad and try even harder, even take drastic choices that takes us back to what we wrongly believe it’s a step forward but it’s nothing more that a false start position. Like if by starting from zero was going to solve all our problems. Like if some magical power would make our worries and unsolved problems disappear, it’s an irresponsible act that actually empowers our negative thoughts under a happiness illusion.
At least that’s what I’ve learned by digging into all my experiences and thoughts, both positive and negative. That’s why I find more constructive to treat both negative and positive thoughts and experiences equally, because then I can consciously choose without positivity nor negativity blinding my environments. No matter how hard I work into replacing negative thoughts or environments, they will always exist until I actively work on them. So I embrace both and make something constructive that allows me to keep on evolving and making a positive impact in a negative environment. That’s my own way to balance an unbalance.
So I allow myself to be as pessimist as optimist, otherwise I deny a reality that affects us all and act irresponsibly. My thoughts are not my actions, my thoughts are a powerful tool that allows me to choose how I want to act. What role play feelings in all this? Well, for me feelings are the basic force behind my thoughts. So feelings trigger my thoughts which trigger my actions. The most difficult part of this chain is being aware of everything happening and why is it happening. Otherwise I would just act without real control, I would act underestimating my ability to choose the outcome. I would lie to myself and delegate my responsibility, falsely believing that the almighty smily optimism will fix everything.
I’ve seen a growing tendency of that kind of optimism religion, but that doesn’t make environments better nor allow us to evolve. Every religious approach stops our evolution by denying our individuality. And optimism has become a sort of religion. But who benefits of this tendency? The system that benefits of our non thinking. The system that wants us to believe that we are happy when we give up on our abilities. The system that denies us as individuals equally important for the whole. Anyone that wants to take profit of other people by giving them a false illusion of happiness. That’s why I think optimism is dangerous when used wrongly. That’s why I try to balance my optimism with my pessimism. That’s why I try not to follow the social press of always thinking positive. It ain’t easy because of my PTSD, that for decades has taken control of both my optimism and pessimism. Making me believe both lies of happiness and sadness, taking control over my feelings, thoughts and actions. So now that I am aware of that I ain’t going to give up on my own abilities. I know by experience that neither optimism nor pessimism are useful by themselves, they are only really useful together, in harmony.