A banana shaped disaster part 2: more toxic positivity

They never actually fixed the underlying issues, they only continued to build, creatively but stupidly, trying to mask and correct the impacts of a poor foundation.

GwenAnn

So the thing about smiling to your future and just hoping that it is going to smile back at you is that it is a steaming pile of equine fecal matter. Yep… 🐴💩. Yep, I just wrote emoji…

And it is a very dangerous steaming pile of equine fecal matter for that matter.

GwenAnn said in Part 1 that, “Whether you sit on this one in the world of new age spiritualism, claiming it as a point within positive psychology, or you wrap it up neatly in the bow of a word of faith perspective, it is toxic and dangerous, even if it is something that brings one comfort at times.” When you just smile and simply believe that because you are smiling and hoping that things will work out for the best, it is the same toxic mindset that says that if you only pray hard enough or read your bible enough that you will not face challenges in life. I’ve already written about that here! It is the same toxic belief that sits in the new agey belief in the Law of Attraction. Does positivity help in challenges in life? Yes. But good thinking doesn’t cause good things to happen to good people and bad thinking doesn’t cause bad things to bad people. Positive thinking is a cornerstone of positive psychology that positive emotions are linked with better health but positive psychology is not based on the idea that positive emotions and positive thinking MAKE good things happen to someone but rather that when bad things do happen, keeping positive can be beneficial. There is a big difference between correlating positive emotions to good health and positive emotions being causal to good things happening in life.

Choosing not to act is in itself action… It is choosing the act of doing not a damn thing and choosing to not get involved in your own future.

I am not talking about moments where you have no choice but to wait and see what the outcome is because there’s absolute inaction which is choosing not to be actively involved in the future, and there is patience while planning and preparing for contingencies and while doing what you can with what you can impact. When someone chooses “not to get involved” when they see injustice they are choosing to decrease risk to themselves at the cost of the victims. Elie Wiesel said, “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.” The same is as true in our own lives as it is in the lives of those around us. Inaction is the act of not acting, not trying, not attempting, not putting forth effort. There are many times where we have no choice but to sit and wait, and there are also times when we have no control over the troubles that come for us, but smiling at the unknown of the future will not impact the possibilities that exist there and choosing not to act in your own favor when and where you can pushes all the responsibility for your success or failure in life on whether you are smiling big enough at an unknown future.

Do you think the collective efforts of the entire population of the world smiling brightly could have made the future smile so brightly back on us that Covid-19 would have never hit us?

The idea that if we only smile brightly toward the future it will force the universe to “smile on us” and make good things happen to us doesn’t just take away the motivation to actually take action in your own favor and for your own good, it also puts you in the place of holding ownership and blame for outcomes that you cannot ever and will not ever have any power over. Things smiling will not impact in the least:

  • the drunk driver who could plow into your car when you’re in the right place at the wrong time
  • Covid
  • whether you get cancer
  • your toxic and abusive spouse won’t stop being a misery to be around and it won’t decrease the impact of that abuse on your kids either
  • whether your car will keep running or break down
  • your grades or performance rating at work

What the belief that smiling will make the world smile on you does that is the most dangerous is that it puts the blame for those things that are out of your control onto you. If you had smiled enough at the future, would the drunk driver not have driven drunk? How would using the Law of Attraction stop an abusive spouse from abusing or keep your car running? What is speaking a word of faith going to do about how well you perform at school or at work when the truth is that you have to study to know the answers for the test and you have to follow through with expectations at work to have a good performance appraisal? God isn’t going to take the test for you, yo! Why is it a big deal to believe it, you ask? What harm can it possibly do?

The psychologically frail who cling to this belief as more than just positive thinking but as a truth to base their life decisions on are so at risk when the unpreventable happens because they believe that smiling will make better what cannot be made better and therefore when it cannot be made better, they are to blame.

“If I had only prayed harder, my wife wouldn’t have died. If I had only read my bible more fervently, my abusive husband would have kept his dick in his pants and his fist far away from my face. If I had only been more positive, I wouldn’t have contracted Covid.”

They could completely break down in the face of realizing that it isn’t about smiling and hoping without action and without effort. Perhaps they might have enough of a threat response to dig into a hole to protect their fragile psyche, the bad news being that the hole can be the kind of illogical place where people devolve into conspiracy theories and decreasingly rational beliefs and thinking in order to protect themselves from the scary realities that smiling won’t make it better and that there is sometimes nothing they can do but face the scary things they have no control over.

We have to deconstruct and disconnect ourselves from the idea that it is all about just remaining positive in the face of difficulty and all will be well in the world.

Positivity is important.

hope is important.

faith is important.

But so are effort, planning, hard work, and recognizing what we do and do not control.


Part 1 written by GwenAnn… Part 2 written by Lizzy…

One thought on “A banana shaped disaster part 2: more toxic positivity

Add yours

  1. It is true that if you sit and wait for the healing to start, you won’t ever heal. Believe in what you wish, but push yourself to change things. Even in my case of loss, I have to relearn how to do things so simple as to go to dinner or the movies. I do smile because it helps my heart brighten for a minute. For that minute I feel happier and stronger. One minute grows as you add another to it. Go at your own pace and good luck.

    Liked by 2 people

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