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Friday April 1, 2005: No Time for Wimps: Part Two

        There is another type of person who buries his or her pain so doggedly that my patience wears thin. Some people believe if they smile and keep themselves really busy in the outside world that eventually inner problems will go away or resolve themselves. They believe in only seeing the positive side of life; if a challenge arises then the problem must exist outside themselves because, look – they have been nothing but positive. Ups and downs in life are challenges that can only be defeated with more enthusiasm and optimism.

        The pattern appears in two different forms, and (personally) I think the worst cases of this lifestyle come from people on a spiritual path – ‘the all sweetness and light’ type. Initially, other people may marvel at the upbeat attitude of these spiritual optimists, especially as they are seen smiling in the face of difficulties. "Don’t worry – be happy" is their mantra and these people give an outer impression of having their spiritual act together. Yet with time, outsiders will begin to notice smaller elements of the picture that don’t set right.

        Every word out of the spiritually blessed’s mouth may be sweet and cheerful and positive, almost sing-song in its brightness. What I psychically can see -- and what non-impressed people may unconsciously pick up on -- is that outer actions aren’t matching the inner balance. The sweetness and light type is like an emotional time-bomb. This comes from a different type of emotional barrier than that created by the chronic victim.

         The chronic victim has a tough barrier that keeps the victim from having to acknowledge a past history of inner problems. The super-positive person has created a thin, tough barrier (like latex) that keeps current emotions from spilling or seeping into everyday reality. I think they are semi-aware of the tensions but cling to the idea that if you smile and believe everything will work out, God will magically take care of the difficulties.

        Let’s get real. Putting your trust in God can work wonders. When times get difficult and you’re stressed, learning to turn a problem over to a higher power can give you distance from overwhelming emotions; then you can more clearly see the reality in front of you. By releasing emotions, you’re more open to divine guidance. That’s a good thing.

        The problem is when things begin falling apart and you don’t question whether your own patterns of behavior have pushed you into the uncomfortable situation. God can bring wonderful things into your life, but sometimes you have to clean out old garbage to make room for something new.

        What I see the ‘sweetness and light’ types fall back on is that any obstacle or uncomfortable situation in their life must be caused by negative forces trying to disrupt their positive mind set. It becomes a battle of good against evil, and because (of course) the evil is always outside themselves, they are validated in never questioning their own belief system or lifestyle. Most people have some inner demon to face as part of their growing process. I see real faith as the courage of trusting that you can accept painful truths and work your way past the negativity.

        A super-positive attitude can also be found in some highly motivated, secularly oriented individuals. They believe they are in charge of their own destiny and, by actively setting enough goals, they will emerge victorious over all of life’s obstacles. If they end up butting their head against a brick wall, they refuse to accept the possibility that maybe they took a wrong turn and they should rethink the steps that got them into trouble. Trouble is always something that exists outside of themselves. Again, they psychically look like emotional time-bombs, waiting to go off.

        What amazes me is how long people keep facing the same issues. These people may panic and get desperate when confronted by one crisis after another, but they never see the cause as arising from their lifestyle. They forcibly keep pushing themselves down the same path for years as obstacles make it increasingly hard to maintain a positive approach. Then, these people become rather sad creatures, suffering wide mood swings: the downside remains focused on outside opponents (why has fate singled me out?); the upside remains a personal challenge (if the world is set against me, then by God, I’ll go down fighting).

        I don’t want to look at that emotional garbage – not year after year. Everyone can go through difficult events. The world can throw you a curve ball. But take a look at the patterns in your life. If you are constantly having relationships that betray or abandon you, if you constantly run into one money crisis after another, maybe it’s the choices you are making. Just being positive doesn’t always make things better.

        I wish the super-positive time-bombs would take responsibility for their inner lives. I’d like to shake them and say, "Address patterns that reappear in the outer world, because you are probably attracted to (or actively creating) part of those problems you insist come from the outside world. Don’t end up being a wimp. Face the issues so you can have real inner peace."

Posted on Friday, April 1, 2005 at 05:37AM by Registered CommenterThe Skeptical Mystic | Comments2 Comments

Reader Comments (2)

I couldn't agree more. Perhaps I'm just one of those unimpressed types who pick up subconsciously on the kind of emotional baggage you refer to, but I have definitely known people that gave happy-but-creepy impressions in their ever-cheerful approach to difficulties. Actually, it seems some of the most important experiences of my life have resulted from the difficult decision to be honest with myself, to face the messiness of human personal and social struggle. I find myself always coming back to the idea of integrity--recognizing those behavior and thought patterns, having the courage to acknowledge personal responsibility, actually trying to change our lifestyles and habits rather than merely making "attitude adjustments" about things. What more is there to say? You put it so concisely!
April 1, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterAli
I believe in the old saying keep doing what your doing and you'll keep getting what your getting.
To me this means if you run into the same problem over and over you might want to look at what your doing.
April 2, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterMiriam

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