By Brianna Wiest

A large reason why people write off self-help or positive psychology as “fluff” is because of how impossible it seems to accomplish. Positive thinking seems simple enough, so why is it that we have such a difficult time with it?

Well, the answer is simple, and it’s not: there’s a lot of subconscious bias against positive thinking, and that accumulates after long periods of time reinforcing your negative beliefs. To shift to a more positive mindset requires getting past that first period of angry disbelief. Here, a few other reasons why we reject positivity:

1. We see it as naive.

We falsely associate “negativity” with “depth,” and so to be aware of the negative (or to be unenthused, under-emotional or passive) is to also be “cool.” (This is why we think of the “cool kids” in school as not caring much.)

2. We’re constantly reinforcing our subconscious belief in the negative.

The very nature of personal belief is “that which experience has proven true to us.” This is impossible, however, when we are subconsciously seeking out evidence to support the negative ideas we are constantly entertaining.

3. We are more inherently fascinated by the negative in the world because we do not understand it.

Because we do not understand the purpose or reason for pain and negativity, we find it unknown and mysterious, therefore, more crucial to attend to. We’re fascinated by the intensity of something we don’t understand, so we end up fueling it more and more simply by paying attention to it.

Image: Alagich Katya

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