Gabor Mate on the power of negative thinking + Flora & Jane on consequences

I’m re-reading Gabor Maté’s When The Body Says No: The Hidden Cost of Stress. I’m not, I stress, stressed. OK, maybe just a little. But I embrace my stress. OK, not all of it. Anyway. Point. Gabor Maté. Genius. Book. Brilliant. Here’s why:

“As an antidote to terminal optimism, I have recommended the power of negative thinking. ‘Tongue in cheek, of course,’ I quickly add. ‘What I really believe in is the power of thinking.’ As soon as we qualify the world thinking with the adjective positive we exclude those parts of reality that strike us as ‘negative.’ … This is how most people who espouse positive thinking seem to operate. Genuine positive thinking begins by including all our reality. It is guided by the confidence that we can trust ourselves to face the full truth whatever the full truth may turn out to be.

Compulsive optimism is one of the ways we bind our anxiety to avoid confronting it. That form of positive thinking is the coping mechanism of the hurt child. The adult who remains hurt without being aware of it makes this residual defence of the child into a life principle.

In order to heal, it is essential to gather the strength to think negatively. Negative thinking is not a doleful, pessimistic view that masquerades as “realism.” Rather, it is a willingness to consider what is not working. What is not in balance? What have I ignored? What is my body saying no to?”

 Gabor Maté, When The Body Says No: The Hidden Cost of Stress

 My body is currently saying no to cleaning house and sacrificing sleep to meet a deadline. And yes to taking a nap. Also, chocolate.

Flora: What are doing?

Jane: Justifying with science why I’m going to spend the entire day on the couch re-reading Jane Austen and eating chocolate.

Flora: Cool. Can I spend the entire day on the computer watching You-tube and eating potato chips?

Sigh. Nothing without consequences, eh?

Jane: OK. But tomorrow: we do all the things.

Flora: All the things?

Jane: Well. Maybe some of the things.



P.S. Don’t envy me. I have a five-year-old. How long do you think I got to sit on the couch?

P.P.S. More Gabor Maté:

“Dialing it in a litte this week, Jane?”

“Yup. Cause. Wah. I’m not stressed. Really. Not. Stressed. At. All. Just a little… overwhelmed.”