In one of Dr. Phil’s shows, he interviewed a couple. The husband considered himself a very positive person who actively seeks the good in every circumstance, situation, and person. The wife said that her husband became deeply depressed. But the husband denied it and said that his wife was just being negative.
The wife then showed the video recording of her husband locking himself in his room, murmuring and crying for hours. Everyone in the studio was shocked.
Without the video, nobody would believe that a hyper-positive person had a deep depression issue. He was so stressed about being positive and didn’t know how to relax.
We were told to think and talk positively to make ourselves happy. This husband was doing exactly that, but how did he become miserable?
To understand this, we need to know that there are several selves controlling our life. Our ego is one of them. The ego can drive us to do things in order to pursue success and happiness. But when our self-image (another “self”) isn’t in alignment, our ego cannot make us do the right things.
Motivational speakers and personal development coaches teach us the benefits and power of positive thinking. They convince us to change our old habits of negative thinking. But we easily get back to our old habits no matter how hard we try to change them.
They are right about positive thinking. But they don’t know being positive or negative is the same.
No matter whether you are positive or negative, you are controlled and limited by your mind. As long as you are in the mind, misery is inevitable.
What is self-image?
Self-image is what we believe we are. They are many labels we put on ourselves. Our belief system is formed over time since we were born, by what we learned from or influenced by our parents, families, schools, public media, cultures, religions, society, and our past experiences. We think we know our beliefs, but we don’t.
The biggest challenge is that most of us never aware of our beliefs or labels. They reside in our subconsciousness. For example, we think that we love being rich. But our belief is that we are under money stress all the time and we are afraid of being rich. How come?
Because all the time we were told that we need money to live better; that money is associated with trouble; that rich people are mean and not happy. So we are never aware that our belief about money keeps us from being rich, no matter how hard we try or think.
Deep down we believe that a loving relationship cannot stay long; it’s difficult to be healthy and wealthy. Those beliefs reside in our subconsciousness which forms our reference frameworks. They “tell” us what’s good or bad, right or wrong, possible or impossible. When they judge they make it like it’s our own ideas.
So the self with all kinds of beliefs runs our life automatically, and most of us live our life unconsciously. We don’t understand why things don’t work the way we wish. Because we are never aware of their existence.
In that real story, the husband was hyper-positive to avoid having difficult conversations with his wife and himself. He was taught to think positively to make things work. But it didn’t work.
The doctor diagnosed that he had developed some serious issues, physically and mentally. He was one of the victims of being positive. Because they ignore the fact that his mind is conflicting with itself.
Being positive is not the solution. We are not aware of our beliefs because they reside in our subconscious minds.
If we want to change the result, we have to find and work on the root. The root of all mental suffering is coming from our minds.
If you understand that your body doesn’t feel and your mind doesn’t know, you will be out of your mind and then find peace.
Buddha means the one who is beyond their mind. To buddha, there’s nothing positive or negative. They see things as they are.