Monday, October 6, 2014

The negative effect of the positive.

We crave to escape our daily lives while reading other people's posts, perusing travel magazines, re-posting other people's vacation pictures, fantasizing ourselves in the same vicinities even when nothing in our present condition can make that fantasy a reality.

Dream big.
Dream often.
Never give up.

We are fed such pablum from the time we are babies. We are shoved into libraries and museums early in life to wet our appetite for big things even when our eyes were opened just long enough for our mother to nurse and change our diapers. By five or six we were  enrolled in some sort of music or dance class, as well as a soccer team, or a craft class to discover our true calling and develop all of our abilities.

 Dreaming big was our parents' shot of vitamins for themselves and for us too. Not working hard at pursuing such dreams would have been a  let down, a major disappointment not just to our parents, but to a whole lot of the adult population that tirelessly produced pictures of the future in rosy colors, saw only the positive things that were to come our way if only we worked hard and believed in that dream.

It must be that humans' DNA has been constantly altered by the infusion of positive spin, the true antidote to grim situations that could barely produce food and shelter in most of our short stay on earth. How else do we explain the natural aptitude for self-positive-talk we all possess?

The building of Great Expectations: 

The phenomenon may be a modern phase. I know,  I'm as guilty of living under its big umbrella and promoting its benefits as anyone.  We have nothing else to replace it. Why, when we begin to doubt its existence, Anxiety, Depression and Fear lurk right around the corner. Instead, we pull ourselves up, dust ourselves out, and sing a happy tune no matter what. If our dreams have not come true is because we have not worked hard enough; we have not built the skills and the desire hard enough. If we begin to have doubts about our dreams, then the slippery slope is before us, and we are doomed to a life of self-doubts, a life of failure.

How we attack these doubts is simple. The pharmaceutical industry is happy to show us the way.


Linda Myers said...

My parents said, "You can do anything you want to do."

I haven't. Some things, yes. Others, not at all.

I'm good with what I've done.

Maybe "dreaming big" is about encouraging us not to just sit there in front of the TV eating Doritos.

Helen said...

Through it all ~ and there have been MANY ups and downs ~ drugs to make things go away have never been a way out for me. For that I am blessed.

Rubye Jack said...

I've always had a bit of a different drummer thing going on, but I really never got into the self-positive stuff. Well, I lie. I did get into self-affirmation for a little while in the 80's. :) Mostly, I read other people's blogs looking for someone who validates my thinking so I know I'm not too crazy.
However, I have noticed a put-down of people who are pessimists or sarcastic in favor of those who see there glasses half-full or even full, and I've always thought they must be on some sort of meds because life is really not about full glasses. Just me.
Very interesting thoughts here Rosaria.

Hilary said...

So true.. there are only so many books, articles, TV shows and mantras one can indulge in before a prescription ultimately does the trick. Or does it?

Brian Miller said...

oy, not sure i want to buy into pharmaceutical answers...or much in the way of self help many different perspectives and i have not found a one size fits all...if we really want our dreams we have to find a way to reach them...

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

I think that this is a time of life when we begin to face some hard truths: that we'll never realize
some of those old dreams and that certain opportunities are well behind us. You're so right that we've been conditioned to dream big, work hard, stay positive. Yet it isn't possible to put a positive spin on all the events of middle and older age.

Making a certain peace with what is -- with dreams that have been realized and those one has had to let go, with the reality that some goals are forever out of reach, with the fact that our disappointments and challenges are as much a part of who we are as our triumphs -- can be a much better remedy than the pharmaceutical alternative.

Ruth Mowry said...

"One of the things I always tell my kids
is that it's OK to head out for wonderful,
but on your way to wonderful,
you're gonna have to pass through all right.
When you get to all right,
take a good look around and get used to it,
because that may be as far as you're gonna go."

— Bill Withers

Maggie May said...

I think its good to dream big dreams but in the end we have to be realistic and tackle things that are doable.

Maybe we wouldn't feel such failures if people didn't expect so much from us.
Some parents like to fulfil their own dreams through their children.

If we all looked towards being contented with life then we wouldn't need to run for the pills!
Maggie x

Nuts in May

Tom Sightings said...

"Just what you want to be you will be in the end ..." Think that's true? I dunno.

kj said...

i wanted to copy mary oliver's poem here, "make the ordinary come alive." i couldn't seem to copy-paste it (damn!) but i think the title says what you've said.

i know about the little things and i know to cherish them--although i admit i surely would like to write a best seller. I surely would :^)

aside from people who misuse and abuse drugs, most people i know take them to cope, not to soar.

nice post as always. i'm glad to be here.


Friko said...

This is absolutely not my way of thinking. I hate all that pressure and have not pressurised my children either.

This way unhappiness is created and although can-do is a good attitude to have, (rather than defeatism), keep it within acceptable bounds. That relentless positivity is just plain soul destroying and health damaging.

It is also far more the American way than the way of Europeans. Who is happier? Who knows?

Shadow said...

I am all for dreaming. Dreaming big. Want it bad enough and it'll come to pass. Wonderfully uplifting post!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Rosaria - we were given the opportunity to try many things as kids, but were never pressurised to press on - just to achieve a reasonable standard at which point we could develop ourselves.

I can't really take all the positiveness out there ... I'll just be me and take the most sensible course of action ... there's no point in beating myself up I just need to do my best along the course I'm taking ...


Cheers - but interesting thoughts and comments - Hilary

troutbirder said...

Somehow I missed all the conditioning and chose my own dreams and remain happy with the result....;)

8thday said...

I was very lucky to have parents that did not push the "dream big, success is everything" button. Instead I got a steady dose of "find what makes you happy, then pass some happiness on."

My mantra is now from Mother Theresa - "do little things with great love."