Positive affirmations are a bad solution to a non-existent problem. Or as Jeff Foster puts it “positive thinking is the psychological version of plastic surgery for the body. It doesn’t work.”
People who use positive affirmations think “I feel bad because I’m thinking bad thoughts. Therefore, I will think good thoughts and I will feel good.”
And I think feeling “bad” is not a problem.
Karla McLaren writes in The Language of Emotions that “most positive affirmations (tell) yourself how to feel instead of feeling the way you feel…each of your affirmations will deny or repress the truth of the situation.”
I prefer a negative truth to a beautiful lie.
The lie is thinking there’s something wrong with the way you think and feel.
The real problem is not having compassion for yourself.
The real problem is not having curiosity or clarity.
With curiosity and clarity, your “bad” thoughts would disappear. According to Osho, the only way to get rid of the ego (or negative thoughts) is to look at it.
Respecting your thoughts instead of replacing them with better ones is the way to achieve real happiness.
I like Oliver Burkeman’s “negative path to happiness” he explores in The Antidote which involves turning towards all those bad and ugly feelings we avoid like uncertainty, insecurity and pessimism. He says:
many of these techniques (for making you happier) are counterproductive (and) saying positive affirmations to yourself in the mirror can make you feel worse and visualizing the future can make you less likely to achieve it.
I think that what is counterproductive about all these efforts that involve struggling very, very hard to achieve a specific emotional state is that by doing that, you often achieve the opposite. It’s a version of the old sort of parlor game that if you try really hard not to think about a polar bear, that the only thing that you can think about in that context is polar bears.
So let’s recap — envy=good. Positive affirmations=bad.