Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Positively Stupid

In the Oct. issue of more magazine, author and social critic Barbara Ehrenreich is interviewed for a book she's written in praise of pessimism, called Bright-Sided. She argues that people have become relentlessly positive, that positive thinking has become so ingrained, people are being fired from their jobs for being too negative. She says there is a danger in not recognizing you can be responsible for your own troubles and for blaming everyone else.* She began thinking about this when diagnosed with breast cancer and buying into the idea that positive thinking is good for one's health. Well, having lived with cancer for 25 years, I know positive thinking is good for one's health. But I see her point. You can carry it so far. I once had a friend, a real New Age-y guy, ask me why I had 'given' this cancer to myself! It was flabbergasting to think he actually thought that, and to make someone feel they had done something to themselves for not being 'positive' enough was just insensitive and cruel. The stress of illness is enormous without any additional feelings of guilt and inadequacy.

*A friend (I admittedly don't see much of anymore) simply does not believe she is responsible for being fired or let go from every job she has ever had. After a year, she's looking again, claiming it was another 'conspiracy' by the co-workers, who were 'jealous' of her, or 'racist,' and she always did all the work...this same person has a 17 page resume. I told her I was pretty sure the POTUS doesn't have a 17 pg. CV, but if so, he was the only one who could get away with it, but she insisted on keeping it. (She's in administrative positions). I'm thinking that is a warning right there to potential employers.


Kelly said...

I really believe in positive thinking and the effects it can have on your life. Lately I have been trying to be more positive and I feel better, have more energy, and am just darn happier.


Chris said...

People are tremendously stupid and I positively hate them. How's that for positive thinking?