“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 »