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The harm of wishful thinking

Whenever I hear things like the universe is waiting to give you everything that you want, or manifest what you desire in your life through positive thinking, or put it out there and the universe will answer, I wonder if the proponents of such philosophies would like to tell that to the toddler that was raped, the innocent boy child that was sodomised, or the ones grieving the loss of a loved one in a senseless act of violence. And the list goes on.

The approach to life that is embodied in this philosophy causes more harm than good because it denies the rights of those around us as we wait to have our needs fulfilled, while diminishing our accountability in fulfilling their rights over us because…well…they shouldn’t expect it from us, they should wait for the universe to answer, not so?

Before you think I’m being whimsical or disrespectful about such beliefs, consider this.

At the heart of such a belief system is wishful thinking. Quite literally.

In the absence of gratitude for what we have, we’ll wish for things that we don’t have.

In the absence of gratitude for who we are, we’ll wait for others (a.k.a. the universe) to make us feel worthy or significant.

Without exception, through almost 3 decades of working with people, every single time that I encountered this philosophy, the individual was avoiding the reality of a painful experience or memory that they didn’t know how to process, or found too difficult to even contemplate.

While we have compassion for the victim of such experiences, we must also consider the victims of such victims.

Life happens, often in terrible ways, to all of us. Measuring who has it better or worse is a futile exercise, because relative to the context of each person’s life, their experiences carry with it whatever impact it carries.

So we don’t dismiss that impact. But we also don’t create space for such events to define our quality of life or our contribution towards the lives of others long after the event has passed, because that diminishes the value of what we have, in favour of what we once lost.

#hope #expectation #sincerity #selfworth #selfawareness #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #lifecoaching #zaidismail

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