“think positive” can be a phrase used to dismiss feelings

Written by Amie on March 3, 2014 – 3:23 pm -

 it would bring their pain to the surface

The very popular phrase “think positive” triggers me when it is used to encourage one to avoid feeling their feelings. Maybe it reminds me of a child falling down and an adult around them saying, “oh get up, you are fine”.  When someone is feeling strong emotions (or any emotions, for that matter) and someone tells them they are fine or tells them to just think positive, this is a way to dismiss their feelings. Think about a time when you were upset and you really needed to be heard and you really needed comforted. If someone said to you, “it will be okay, just think positive”, how did you feel? I know from my experience, I felt angry and I felt dismissed. I immediately shut down and stopped talking about my feelings. I made the decision that this person is not a safe person to talk to about my true feelings. I believe people mean well when they say this, and if they could get in touch with why they say it, it could bring great healing to them. I believe people do this because they are in emotional pain themselves, and by allowing someone else to express their emotions, it would bring their pain to the surface and that would be too difficult to face. So, telling someone to, “think positive”, is a way to shut the person down while feeling as though they have shown compassion.


we must face our emotional pain in order to heal

People today are walking through life in a great deal of pain. They are also attempting to hide this pain. There is so much emphasis on focusing on the positive right now. I believe this hinders people from feeling safe to express their truth. The whole idea of focusing on the positive just rubs me the wrong way. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should focus on the negative or stay in our stories so much that we are depressed most of the time. What I am saying is we must face our emotional pain in order to heal. Trying to “stay positive” when you are in deep emotional pain is just one more thing to make you feel like you failed. I remember a time when I thought I would never feel better because I kept hearing “just focus on the positive”, and I truly couldn’t do that. I felt so deeply depressed I wanted to curl up in a ball and escape from life. So how in the world could I “just think positive” when my body was screaming to me that something is wrong! And it wasn’t that I was focusing on the negative. I was suffering. I was in deep emotional pain. Thinking positive wasn’t even an option. It just made me feel worse because “I couldn’t even do that right”. I would say something positive to myself and then I would feel so angry! Then I would proceed to beat myself up because it didn’t work, which kept the cycle going.

 It doesn’t mean you are too needy, too clingy, or too sensitive

So I am saying all of this to say, feel your pain, feel your emotions, feel your aliveness. If you are depressed, allow yourself to feel the pain. Invite it in. Allow it to have a voice. Write about it, express it to a trusted friend or therapist or family member. If you express your truth to someone and you feel dismissed, TRUST THAT FEELING!!!! It is NOT YOU, it is them. They may be in too deep of emotional pain themselves to be able to hear you, be there for you, support you. Its okay, just find someone else. But, please please please do not beat yourself up if you feel dismissed by someone. It doesn’t mean you are too needy, too clingy, or too sensitive. It just means they are not the right person for you to trust with your innermost thoughts.

is like beating yourself up emotionally

The journey to your truth begins with becoming aware of yourself. Becoming aware of your body sensations, your thoughts, your beliefs. All of your feelings are valid. Don’t let anyone dismiss your feelings. If they need to go through life telling others to “just think positive”, then let them. It has nothing to do with you. We must feel what is true inside us if we want to thrive in our aliveness. Emotions are part of being human. Dismissing them or avoiding them or holding them back in shame are conditioned ways of being in our world. This is not our natural state! Many of us learned to avoid feeling. We were told, “you’re fine”, or “you should feel so lucky”, or “it could be so much worse”, or “just think positive, it will be fine”…..I’m sure you could add to this. Saying these to yourself is like beating yourself up emotionally, it is continuing the conditioned ways in which you were taught. Say one of these phrases to yourself when you are feeling bad, and really focus on how your body reacts when you say it. How does your stomach feel? How about your chest? Or your head? These are all signs from your body to tell you something isn’t feeling right. Question what is going on inside you. How does it feel when you are dismissed?

Start paying close attention to how your body feels in different situations. How it feels when others say certain things to you. You have a right to your feelings. No matter what. It is your job to find the right people to support you. Let the universe know you are ready for people to come into your life who will love you and support you for being exactly *you*. You are worthy of love and you deserve love. If you feel dismissed by someone, it is them, not you. Remember that. There is nothing wrong with you. You are loved.


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Posted in Awareness, Depression, Healing & personal growth, healing from depression, Nurture yourself | 4 Comments »

Accepting each moment as it comes

Written by Amie on December 29, 2012 – 3:29 am -

 Feeling good happens in each moment, it isn’t something that happens in the future

I want to write about this because I think it may help at least one person. It is another one of those things that I really didn’t understand for quite a few years. I read so many books talking about staying present, or being “in the moment”. I thought I understood what that meant. I found out that I really didn’t know how to put it into practice. I was still too much “in my head”. When you are in your head, it is almost impossible to be in the moment. I would find myself thinking about the future when my depression would be all better. Little did I know, thinking about this was a distraction from being where I was right in that moment. I was “in the future” in my mind, so there was no way to be fully in the moment. Feeling good happens in each moment, it isn’t something that happens in the future. Distractions keep us from feeling. Thinking too much keeps us from really being with how we feel in any given moment. In truth, all situations are neutral. It is when we add our stories, our commentary to a situation that makes it into something other than neutral. (This would be a different conversation if a person is in physical danger. Thinking needs to happen so as to keep a person safe) When we start labeling a situation, we are immediately taken out of the moment, which means we are not present.

this shuts down the human process

We have been conditioned to think too much. We have been conditioned to label every single thing that happens to us. For most people, it is nearly impossible to allow emotions to flow freely through their body and just feel. This is the reason so many people feel so down and depressed. All of those unexpressed emotions are stuck in the body. Trapped, causing anxiety and depression. For many people, the minute an emotion starts in the body, they shut it down. They distract themselves with tasks or thoughts about things that need to get done or reasons why they “shouldn’t” feel the way they feel. This shuts down the human process. We are emotional beings. However, we have evolved into humans who stuff their emotions and who feel bad about their emotions. We have been conditioned to ignore our emotions and sensations, therefore taking us away from accepting what “is” in each moment. A moment is just a moment, it is the thoughts about the moment that make us feel miserable. I am not saying there is no such thing as a sad event or a time to feel discouraged or frustrated etc….but staying with the labels and thoughts about the situation  create a distraction so that your true feelings about the moment can’t be processed. Emotions are truly sensations in the body. The next time you feel angry or sad, see if you can notice your body. When I feel angry, I feel my stomach tighten, I feel my legs start shaking if I am really angry, etc. If we can allow ourselves to just feel these sensations without adding a story about them, they will flow through the body, which allows us to be in a place to process our options, if an action needs to be taken.

I continued to sit with my uncomfortable feelings

I will give some examples of what I mean, hoping that it will help you understand what I am talking about. One example would be when I sat down to meditate the other day. I sat down, and about two seconds after I sat down my mind said “ugh, I really don’t want to do this, I don’t feel like sitting here, what is going on, my mind is racing….” So, I could have distracted myself by getting back up and cleaning the kitchen instead. Instead, I continued to sit with my uncomfortable feelings. I told myself,” gosh, I really don’t want to sit here”, and then I just let that thought be there instead of trying to “fix it” or run away from it. In the past when I felt this way, I would have said, “gosh,what is going on here. yesterday I was able to sit in silence, why not today?” And my mind would have been off to the races so to speak. My mind would have stayed focused on these thoughts, and I would have been sitting there analyzing why I didn’t feel like meditating. So, it is more of an observation. It is like saying, “hmmm, my legs are wiggling around, I am uncomfortable, hmmm….” and then just be with that. No stories, no judging, no analyzing, no trying to find a solution.

you get closer to your truth

Once I learned to just be with what comes, things that were labeled as “problems” are no longer problems. They are just situations, they are neutral. It really is about learning a new way of being. Awareness is key. Watching your thoughts, and then watching the progression of those thoughts. Most people with severe depression are stuck in an endless loop in their mind. I remember a time when I didn’t even recognize that. I had no idea how hard I was on myself. Becoming aware of my thoughts was the beginning of my healing journey. Once I became aware, I was able to begin the process of changing it. The more I was able to stay in the moment and watch my thoughts, the more “awake” I became. I began to see that most of the thoughts going through my head had nothing to do with the present moment. They were either about the past or about the future. Again, thinking about the past or the future is a distraction from how you feel in the moment. One very important detail, however, is that the more you become aware of each moment, you will start to see things about your life that need to be processed and released from your body. Things that happened in the past that you were not able to feel or process for various reasons. I needed help with this. I needed a therapist to help guide me along the path. Doing this does not mean living in the past or  staying out of the present moment. When things from our past affect our present, they need to be processed and released. Processing feelings that come up is very healthy, and each time you do this , you get closer to your truth. Staying in the moment is not always easy. It takes a lot of practice. Most of us have spent our whole lives doing everything except living in the moment. So, be very gentle on yourself as you learn this new way of being. Soon it will start to feel natural. You get as many do-overs as you need.












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Posted in Awareness, Depression, healing from depression, Help with depression, Meditation, Self hate | 1 Comment »