How Having a Positive Mental Attitude Can Be a Weakness

by Michael Simmons on Mar 3, 2013

I am consciously resolving a lot of pain in my life right now.

i am doing this based on the belief that what we resist, persists.

I’ve been aware of this concept for a long time, but now is the first time I’ve ever actively embraced it.

This process has changed my life on many levels.

It also feels wrong and awkward, because embracing pain is the exact opposite of what I thought was ‘right’.

I’ve been aware of the power of our minds to literally reshape our world through a POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE for over 10 years. To me this meant trying to always have positive thoughts and surround myself with people who thought the same way.

On many levels, this way of thinking has worked. However, it reached its plateau.

I previously saw the expression of pain as a sign of negativity in both myself and others. When other people expressed pain, it made me uncomfortable, and it made me want to solve it immediately or distance myself from that person.

I now see that I was afraid of my pain and other people’s pain. This fear separated me from other people, from myself, and fully appreciating anything painful.

I now see the acknowledgement of pain as a necessary part of its resolution.

Instead of optimizing my life to move away from pain, the possibility of accepting every moment of life and seeing the humanity in everyone emerges, and that’s an amazing possibility.

What’s required to enter the new paradigm is often the resolution of a paradox.

Embracing pain (the negative) in the paradigm of a positive mental attitude is a paradox at first. In this case, the paradox is solved by realizing that pain is not negative and that making something negative and then fearing it is not effective.

I’ve experienced the process as the following:

1. Realizing the limits and pains of the current paradigm
2. Experiencing glimpses of the next paradigm
3. Understanding what’s needed to reach the next paradigm may be false in the current one (the paradox)
4. Experiencing fear and hesitation of breaking old rules (stalling)
5. Gradually making the transition as the benefits of the new paradigm become more certain

For example, fighting can be an effective tool for resolving conflict in one paradigm and needless aggression in the next. Sharing one’s feelings can be a sign of weakness in one paradigm and a sign of strength in another.


Please enter your email address to receive intermittent updates.


Please enter your email address to receive intermittent updates.

I'm the co-founder of Empact, one of the leading entrepreneurship education organizations in the world. I'm obsessed with understanding how we all can lead meaningful lives that have a positive social impact. I love probing into the truth of how we experience life. I believe that challenges are what make us grow the most, and I openly share my experiences. Continue reading…