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Thread: How do you reverse negativity, cynicism, being critical?

  1. #31
    FRACTALICIOUS Array phobik's Avatar
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    Apr 2009


    Quote Originally Posted by Vasilisa View Post
    You could try buying pop psychology books!

    Brain Pickings Blog on: Against Positive Thinking: Uncertainty as the Secret of Happiness

    [YOUTUBE="bOJL7WkaadY"]book trailer[/YOUTUBE]

    Cool video

    Quote Originally Posted by Vasilisa View Post
    ^ more from him
    The Power of Negative Thinking
    August 4, 2012

    LAST month, in San Jose, Calif., 21 people were treated for burns after walking barefoot over hot coals as part of an event called Unleash the Power Within, starring the motivational speaker Tony Robbins. If you’re anything like me, a cynical retort might suggest itself: What, exactly, did they expect would happen? In fact, there’s a simple secret to “firewalking”: coal is a poor conductor of heat to surrounding surfaces, including human flesh, so with quick, light steps, you’ll usually be fine.

    But Mr. Robbins and his acolytes have little time for physics. To them, it’s all a matter of mind-set: cultivate the belief that success is guaranteed, and anything is possible. One singed but undeterred participant told The San Jose Mercury News: “I wasn’t at my peak state.” What if all this positivity is part of the problem? What if we’re trying too hard to think positive and might do better to reconsider our relationship to “negative” emotions and situations?

    Consider the technique of positive visualization, a staple not only of Robbins-style seminars but also of corporate team-building retreats and business best sellers. According to research by the psychologist Gabriele Oettingen and her colleagues, visualizing a successful outcome, under certain conditions, can make people less likely to achieve it. She rendered her experimental participants dehydrated, then asked some of them to picture a refreshing glass of water. The water-visualizers experienced a marked decline in energy levels, compared with those participants who engaged in negative or neutral fantasies. Imagining their goal seemed to deprive the water-visualizers of their get-up-and-go, as if they’d already achieved their objective.

    Or take affirmations, those cheery slogans intended to lift the user’s mood by repeating them: “I am a lovable person!” “My life is filled with joy!” Psychologists at the University of Waterloo concluded that such statements make people with low self-esteem feel worse — not least because telling yourself you’re lovable is liable to provoke the grouchy internal counterargument that, really, you’re not.

    Even goal setting, the ubiquitous motivational technique of managers everywhere, isn’t an undisputed boon. Fixating too vigorously on goals can distort an organization’s overall mission in a desperate effort to meet some overly narrow target, and research by several business-school professors suggests that employees consumed with goals are likelier to cut ethical corners.

    Though much of this research is new, the essential insight isn’t. Ancient philosophers and spiritual teachers understood the need to balance the positive with the negative, optimism with pessimism, a striving for success and security with an openness to failure and uncertainty. The Stoics recommended “the premeditation of evils,” or deliberately visualizing the worst-case scenario. This tends to reduce anxiety about the future: when you soberly picture how badly things could go in reality, you usually conclude that you could cope. Besides, they noted, imagining that you might lose the relationships and possessions you currently enjoy increases your gratitude for having them now. Positive thinking, by contrast, always leans into the future, ignoring present pleasures.

    Buddhist meditation, too, is arguably all about learning to resist the urge to think positively — to let emotions and sensations arise and pass, regardless of their content. It might even have helped those agonized firewalkers. Very brief training in meditation, according to a 2009 article in The Journal of Pain, brought significant reductions in pain — not by ignoring unpleasant sensations, or refusing to feel them, but by turning nonjudgmentally toward them.

    <read more>
    I've never been one to pat myself in the back or set carrot-on-a-string goals to self motivate. I know the recipe, and I've tried it to some extent, but it's always felt alien to me and maybe that's why perhaps I still suffer from some of it's effects.
    To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.
    ~ Elbert Hubbard

    Music provides one of the clearest examples of a much deeper relation between mathematics and human experience.

  2. #32
    Senior Member Array UniqueMixture's Avatar
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    Mar 2012
    378 sx/so


    By learning to see the world with love and compassion as though other human beings are largely similar to yourself. If you cannot relate, then interaction devolves into petty conflicts between "I" and "other." Such a state is not conducive toward harmony, which often colors reality in existentially bleak terms.
    For all that we have done, as a civilization, as individuals, the universe is not stable, and nor is any single thing within it. Stars consume themselves, the universe itself rushes apart, and we ourselves are composed of matter in constant flux. Colonies of cells in temporary alliance, replicating and decaying and housed within, an incandescent cloud of electrical impulses. This is reality, this is self knowledge, and the perception of it will, of course, make you dizzy.

  3. #33
    No Array Thalassa's Avatar
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    May 2009
    6w7 sx
    SEE Fi


    I resemble this remark.

    I think you have to separate distilling for truth of experience or whatever it is that you're looking for from your ego.

    I think it's the only way.

    It's not that being sheltered and naive like a child is the answer, but letting the world ruin you isn't the answer either.

    The answer lies in objectively accepting that things are as they are (this is human nature, this is earth, this is life, this is what people will do) and actually TAKING COMFORT in the fact that I've accepted reality. Accepting the reality of people and nature and the world has actually made me feel a lot more inwardly content somehow, like actually less fearful than I was when I was more convinced of this or that ideological delusion.

    HOWEVER, people get so obsessed with this criticism of people, life and themselves that they become dark and convinced that this is the "smartest" way to live; how is it "smart" to be crass and negative all the time?

    It's not. I think one can be REALISTIC without being negative, per se.

    And I think the way to do that is to detach from egoistic ideas of either seeing yourself as morally superior or intellectually superior or the most successful or even as a helpless victim (yes, seeing yourself as a victim can be an ego complex just as much as thinking yourself superior in some manner) and accepting what is, and trying to channel love.

    For me that's something I have started to do through Taoist philosophy and yoga and meditation and other study. However, I've noticed I have a real problem with drama and reflecting other people's negativity back to them, and it's a function of what I've built as a false ego; to be this polarizing mirror of other people's negativity back to them, like some kind of Robin Hood of emotional energy instead of money. I don't think that's the moral answer any more, necessarily, at least not in the manner I've been going about it.

    Old habits die hard, though, people cling to their ego-identity because it feels safe.

    The problem with my personal ego is that for me detachment in the past meant being passive or a victim (instead of some conversation with myself that I was so rational or whatever, which is also a false ego identification) ...and I have to learn detachment from a place of centering.

    I know you're a Christian (I think?) and so your personal journey probably lies with that, your journey is different than mine, of course, but I think that might be part of your answer.
    "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." - Edward Abbey

    SEE-Fi /Gamma

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