This was brought to my attention by someone who felt that positive was used often, in a very negative way. The example being covid of course, but also things like cholesterol at your annual checkup ‘hey, I was positive for good cholesterol’ which would give the listener an ambiguous meaning at best.

This thought brought to mind how people appear and how they are, how they want you to think of them compared to what’s actually going on with them. There’s the enthusiastic but scornful ‘way to go’ (minus the negative slur, moron at the end of it)! Or maybe a less than sincere but polite, ‘I love it!’

Leading to expression and thought, since we can never know truly and very rarely want to, know what someone else is thinking.

Take a 4-way Stop sign. I get there after a car has already stopped, I stop and I wait. It looks like they may be waving me through although it’s hard to tell with tinted glass and my sunglasses. As it’s not my turn, I have no possible way of knowing what they are thinking, the processes going on in their head, how distracted they may be, if they normally talk with their hands. I just don’t know, and I don’t trust their behaviour. Other people tell me they’re just being courteous, but are they? is that what they’re thinking? And if so why? The 4-way stop has built in courtesy, first one there goes first.

Then there’s people who think that they have to pass a test, or they fail, they’re a failure, they label themselves based on their perception of a result. Which can be just a number, that’s it. In the cardiac exercise stress lab, ‘did I pass?’ Performing a ramp up test on a bike, ‘I failed dismally in the last step, I’m a failure’. In both cases the tests are designed to go to what is considered, failure. It’s the absolute amount of work you’re able to do before you can’t do it anymore, and you stop. Nothing more than that, it’s a number, not a label. For many people they don’t even see what they have achieved, only what they have not. This is a split in what is real and what is imagined.

In psychology (according to Google, I’m not a psychologist, although coaches have to learn a lot about behaviour); Splitting (also called black-and-white thinking or all-or-nothing thinking) is the failure in a person’s thinking to bring together the dichotomy of both positive and negative qualities of the self and others into a cohesive, realistic whole. It is a common defence mechanism.

It’s useful, to have the knowledge of what is going on in your self to provide understanding about what it is you’re being defensive about. The basis of “I’m not good enough”, would send you down the rabbit hole where there’s no light to shine on you and would then give support to your feeling, because we like nothing more than gathering evidence for our own failings. And feelings.

Then finally, what this examines is why we/I have any reserve in being recognized for the truly great human beings that I/we are, what I’ve done and am proud of. Not as a comparison to others but as an expression of my self and acknowledging them as well. Forget about being positive, display your greatness!

What’s strong with me, day 23.

Coach Be