In certain environments we may be around people who say, why can't you just be happy? Cheer up. You're okay. Everything's fine. In other words, how we're feeling is not okay. Our authentic response to the environment we're in is somehow wrong, or inconvenient to others. In that moment, if we don't sense the environment changing anytime soon, we yearn for a way to feel better about it. At some point the solution is given. Someone comes along and says, guess what, you can change the way you think and feel about the environment you're in! All you need to do is think different thoughts and then you will have a different feeling response. So basically, nothing needs to authentically change, you just get to think and feel different about it all and thus feel better no matter what! We hear that, and think, yes, what a great idea! I get to take control of how I think and feel and as a result I will get better feedback from the people around me who want me to feel happy and good and satisfied. So, we employ the strategy. Perhaps repeating thoughts like, "I'm exactly where I'm meant to be." And lo and behold, we feel better. That is a "good feeling" thought. And on we go, getting better and better at using thoughts to manipulate our feeling body and we feel good about ourselves because we're really making progress.
At some point as we're moving along feeling better no matter what, we get or are given by someone else the brilliant idea of extending this "practice" outwards. Rather than just employing it to manipulate and control how we think and feel, perhaps we can influence the people around us and make them think and feel better too. How ingenious! How clever we've become. So, we get to work, starting to offer other people these thoughts to implant into their "subconscious" mind so that they can feel different too. And oh, even better, once we do that enough we start to change and modify our behaviors so that we get different results in life. Now we've really gotten somewhere! Not only have we learned how to change how we think and feel regardless of what the environment is like, we now can influence our own and now others behaviors so that we are all making progress, taking control and making things better. On it goes, up the ladder, feeling good about our hard work, becoming more effective, getting the right thoughts in there and feeling good and proud, and then seeing some results. The control and manipulation is working, so we keep going. Employing the strategies more, and more and more.
At some point however, it may show up as a person in our life, or just from within our self, there is this anger, or backlash. Someone doesn't like being manipulated and controlled. It's stifling, un-kind, and even abusive. Even if it's so "positive" and "good" and "making things better." There's something inside us, or someone who shows up in front of us that goes: "go fuck yourself with all your bright ideas." And we're surprised. What is this anger? They, or something within me just doesn't get it! They are being negative, so lets find a way to get rid of them! If it's a person in your life it may be easier. If it's arising within you, then what? The response may be to double down, get stronger thoughts, to negate or be rid of this in-compliant response pattern.
The anger may subside, but then you may notice difficulty sleeping. Your mind just can't stop. Or you notice your body and there is all this tension. Or you notice that you're incapable of appreciating your environment or allowing yourself to feel sad when something occurs that is truly heartbreaking. Eventually there may be a pause. Something that wakes up in your body, a frequency, an intuition, the presence of a different energy that is essentially saying, take a breath, notice your body, pay attention to your breathing and observe the state of your mind. You hear the question: Is this where you want to be? And we allow the grief and sadness to well as the "no" emerges. Then perhaps there is a fear of not wanting to go back to what it was like before the positive manipulation strategy was introduced. You've gained so much by being able to control things and not be powerless over how you feel, you don't want to lose it all now. This voice of love that's beginning to wake up inside of you says "you won't". It's not like that. And so perhaps you begin to listen, and breathe, and get curious about how you authentically feel and whether this new frequency of love can help you change your life circumstances naturally and organically so that you're response to where you are is one of peace and calm, appreciation and acknowledgment of beauty.
As you breathe, and notice what's here, and what's arising, that perhaps wasn't available when you employed the strategy, you can ask for help from this loving field to surrender the strategies and go on a new adventure where you are loved, supported, honored and cared for every step of the way. For a different blog on this subject you're welcome to read Beyond Coping.