The 50th picture in "A Picture A Day" series.
A while back, I purchased the infamous book, The Secret. For those of you who haven't heard of it, it's a book that will supposedly transform your life. It's basic premise is the law of attraction: like attracts like. If you think it, believe it, then you will receive it. It's pretty much just glorified positive thinking. The book argues that "the universe" will deliver you whatever you want: a car, a million dollars, a jock strap, an airplane, a new job, a big booger, etc, etc. All you have to is think positively, believe that you will have what you want and then ba-da-bing (!) you have it. According to The Secret, thoughts become things.
At first, I was taken in by the secret of The Secret. You see, although I try my best not to be, at heart, I'm really a cup-is-half-empty kind of a girl and I really believed that I could improve my life by utilizing the coveted secret. "Maybe positive thinking is worth it," I thought to myself. I read the book. Read it three times, in fact. It wasn't until the last time through, though, that I began to think that something was just so wrong about this book. I even googled "flaws of The Secret" to see if I could pinpoint what I was sensing, but of course all of the websites I found were attacking the supposed "anti-Christian" content in The Secret. Booooo. They were no help.
One morning, after a night filled with strange dreams about Mason being a dog-hoarder and a Great Dane eating off my left hand, I realized what my problem is with The Secret. It's this particular statement and concept that is pervasive throughout the book: "Nothing can come into your experience unless you summon it through persistent thoughts" (pg. 43). It makes the argument that any negative situation or experience you have, is because you have basically willed it into your life. So, wait. If I get breast cancer, it's because I thought it into my body? If I get laid off from my job, it's because I thought it into my life? If my house is burglarized, it's because I thought it into existence? I can go on and on about all the negative, terrible, horrific experiences that people can have or circumstances they may live in. I would have a difficult time telling a homeless person, "Oh sorry, but you're homeless because you apparently wanted to be. You should read The Secret, though, it will change your life!" I don't buy it. To me, this is a bunch of bullcrappy.
Now, don't get me wrong, I don't think positive thinking is a bad thing. And, I do think that persistent negative thinking can have negative effects on people. I believe negative thinking can sometimes inhibit resiliency and the ability to bounce back from a crisis. I believe that it can affect health. Too much stress can definitely make us sick and weaken our immune systems. And, too much negativity can simply make people unpleasant to be around. We all have someone in our lives that is a "Debbie Downer." No one likes them!
My problem, however, with the positive thinking movement and, The Secret, in particular is that it places all the pressure on the individual. You think it, you create. Whatever your situation is, you have no one to blame but yourself. The real secret about The Secret is that it is just more of the same ol' individualistic, "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" mentality that helps maintain status quo. Most of the problems we experience as individuals are part of a larger problem. In other words, our individual problems are never unique to us. I bet whatever your problem is, you can find a few thousand others who have the same one. Anyone want to admit to the green poo problem with blue Mountain Dew? No? Oops, forget I said anything then. The point is, that we need to stop blaming individuals for their problems. We've been doing this forEVER and it gets us nowhere. We need to start looking at things as a collective. How did we ALL create the circumstances that many find themselves in?
I think we should put the negative back in the equation and get on with our crappy lives. Forget about the positive thinking movement! Too much positivity simply blows.