Following on my last post about my preference for naming reality (as opposed to having to pretend or denying what is), I’ve been thinking about the value of positive vs. negative thinking. I wouldn’t espouse “negative thinking” per se because I believe that our emotions follow our thoughts, and they can go down some pretty ugly pathways if we focus on doomsday scenarios that may or may not bear any resemblance to reality or possibility.
Yet I do believe that uninformed euphoria and “just ignore the facts and concentrate on being happy” modes of being do not work.
I found this article, The Power of Negative Thinking, by Oliver Burkeman in The New York Times interesting. I’d love to hear how others see it. I was particularly struck by the idea that to the degree that we are focusing, focusing, focusing on some future life, we miss the beauty of the present, and that’s sometimes a byproduct of the often-recommended “just visualize it” school of thought.
I like the idea of visualizing (or, more accurately, realizing) the gifts of the present moment (even and perhaps especially when there is also pain in that moment).
Gratitude is an amazing gift and an amazing tool. But it is enhanced when we see beauty in spite of imperfection — not when we adamantly insist that the painful is beautiful. It’s a fine line.
What do you think?