Social media is jammed with positive psychology encouraging people in crisis to choose to feel differently than they do.
Choose to have a good day! Yes, but if a person is in a crisis and is dealing with crisis reactions resulting in decreased cognitive abilities, what happens then? If a person is experiencing turbulence and despair, they will most likely not have the ability to choose to think positively – hence the positive psychology will do damage to the person who already is doubting their self-worth and self-confidence.
Sometime a go a man told me that when his daughter was diagnosed with an uncurbable illness, he lost the ability to think clearly. He was in pain and did not function. He was emotionally paralyzed. In his circle of friends people were into positive thinking. They were throwing clichés in his face about how he should think. That he should be strong. That everything has a meaning. He felt oppressed by his surroundings.
What he needed to hear is that it is okay to be sad. It is normal to feel helpless and in despair. That there is no need to be strong and that being weak is normal.
He was unable to process a crisis that he had not been able to accept.
Today he claims that it was pivotal for him to accept weakness and allow those feelings. After that he could process the difficult crisis.
Positive thinking and psychology has its place. But definitely not when an individual need to feel weak. Then it becomes destructive with an opposite effect.
I find that many people who are waving the positive psychology banner in fact are afraid of weakness and being vulnerable. They cling to being positive at all costs instead of embracing weakness. Hence, it is difficult to encourage people to do something that they fear themselves.
We need to approach people in crisis with empathy and sensitivity. Be careful how we use our truths and our words. Be more aware of how what we say or write is being received by the recipients. They are after all the experts on their own lives and how their interpretations of what they encounter.
Have a brilliant day!