Why Positive Thinking Can Make You Depressed

Pretty woman thinking

From my book ‘When Everyone Shines But You’

There is a train of thought that positive thinking is of prime importance if you want to be a better person, have your life change, and be a valuable member of society. Some feel that positive thinking creates your reality; some believe that positive thinking is the only way to success. Many of those following this route view negative thinking as bad, wrong and a terrible waste of time and energy, and some can be almost evangelical in their views of being positive versus being negative.


For anyone who has experienced depression, anxiety or intense loss of any kind, they will know that being positive does not always right all wrongs. And sometimes if someone has a deeper, more challenging inner world, then to simply tell them to change their thinking to a more positive mindset is equal to saying to someone who is seriously depressed, ‘Cheer up, it may never happen!’.


Anyone who has suffered depression knows how much of a kick in the teeth it can be to experience such a lack of understanding and compassion for the human emotional journey.

Positive Thinking Is A Natural Byproduct

Happy sunflower woman

Positive thinking when embracing the moment is a by-product of naturally allowing, of naturally accepting and acknowledging the present moment experience – whatever that may be. Positive thinking need not be a forced unnatural thing like reciting affirmations in front of the mirror.

Positive thinking is simply the other side of negative thinking; where there is yin there is yang; where there is feminine there is also masculine; where there is comfort there is discomfort etc. etc… Once you begin to allow your entire human rainbow of emotions, then peace and freedom come more naturally. Forcing anyone to try to feel or think in a way that they are not able to, simply pushes the negative in deeper; pushes the discomfort in so far that it intensifies. So the positive thinking movement has its flaws, as does solely focusing on the negative in life.


From an early age you were taught to be and do in a way that is not natural for you. For example, children are expected from a young age to say ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’, and are often taught to express gratitude when they are not naturally geared up for it at such a young age.


Many adults don’t feel gratitude until much later, so why expect children to fake an emotion they do not feel? This is the beginning of conditioning children to say ‘Yes’ when they mean ‘No’, and can begin a cycle of self-esteem issues, as they do not trust their own feelings, but those of authority figures in their lives.


Positive thinking is the same in adults. If it is not coming naturally and the emotion is dark, heavy, sad or frustrated, do not try to be positive.

Far better to sit for a moment, take a few deeper breaths, sense where the emotion is in your body, and simply watch it and feel it as an observer. It will not feel easy. This does not mean you will suddenly feel super happy. It means you are not fighting yourself anymore. And the more you do this, the more space opens up within you for a more positive mindset. Your thoughts naturally change as you begin to accept yourself, and as you accept yourself more and more, you can accept the flaws you perceive in others, and life becomes richer and more meaningful to you.


Your human self deserves your love and affection. You did not come here to be less human; you came here to be fully human, a balanced human. Your spiritual self, your soul, is not urging you to be some angelic presence all glowing with only love and peace.


If this were the case you would never have chosen the earth plane to evolve and grow. Instead you would have chosen to stay as spiritual energy, limitless light, without unique expression or identity, one with ‘all that is’.

You Came Here To Be Human


No, instead you came here to be human. What greater love is there than to be fully your human self, the body, the experiences you chose to experience, the life you chose to lead, the awakenings you chose to awaken to. Your human self deserves so much more than you give it credit for. The spiritual teachers of the past, the wise sages, never advocated eliminating your human flaws, but embracing them and making them part of your inner gifts, talents and wisdom.
If a teaching leans more towards just awakening and encouraging only positive emotions like peace, love and gratitude, you are missing the entire spectrum of human feelings. From rage, peace can be found. In anger there is love lurking in the background.


All these so called ‘negative’ emotions are your greatest teachers, albeit feeling like your greatest obstacles at times. You can no longer bypass these strong emotions, but move lovingly through them, practicing loving kindness by allowing yourself to feel them, as if they were your children needing your tenderness, focus, care and attention, for this is all they are, aspects of you wanting to come home.

Thank you for reading.

This chapter was selected as a replacement for this weeks podcast due to some computer issues. The podcast will hopefully return next week.

From When Everyone Shines But You

Chapter 25
~ Too Much Emphasis on Positive Thinking May Damage Self- Worth ~

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Kelly Martin
Kelly Martin

Kelly Martin is the author of ‘When Everyone Shines But You’ , a passionate writer and blogger questioning life’s illusions. After what seemed like a decade of intense anxiety, feelings of failure and grief from the loss of her father she chose to take a mindfulness path and has not looked back since. Kelly encourages people to find the treasures that lie within the pain and suffering and to learn to see themselves as ‘enough’ exactly as they are, right now through her writing and You Tube channel .

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