Truth Doesn't Justify Negativity

The cultural habit is that you get to complain if something is true. If you didn't take the dog on a walk, and he peed on the carpet, then another person gets to complain about your behavior. We say that the complaint is justified because it's true that you were supposed to take the dog on a walk, and you failed to do so.

The idea is that the complaint, the reactive negative attitude, is supposed to punish the perpetrator and deter their behavior in the future. Using that logic, since complaining is practiced continuously everywhere, the world should be functioning like a dream by now. If negativity, if deterrence, is so effective, then there should be no crime. The criminals should be deterred from committing the crimes for fear of punishment. So, why is there crime?

Test it out in a hypothetical to feel for yourself your gut reactions to the effectiveness of negativity and deterrence. A kid comes home from school with bad grades. In one approach, the parent hugs the kid and says, "Good job, getting through school this year," then high-fives the kid. When the kid wonders about the bad grades, the parent says, "That's okay, we'll work on those things together. There are a lot of ways to learn that material, and we'll see what we can do."

Now, in another approach, when the parent sees the grades, they start yelling at the kid that, "I told you to work on these things. It's obvious that you didn't do anything about it, and now you're going to fail out of school. Go to your room. You're not going to your friend's house tonight." Then the parent shames the kid over the next month, punishing the kid with various types of withholding, to motivate the kid to do a better job.

I would ask you which approach is going to turn out the more well-adjusted child? Is the deterrence going to work? Will the second kid perform better due to the punishment? Not likely. Even if you put the fear of God in the kid, and he performs better because he's frightened of what will happen to him, he'll be doing it out of repression. Therefore, you've successfully incubated a whole new crop of problems.

In the first situation, the parent doesn't believe that the truth of the situation justifies complaining. Instead, they choose to place the unconditioned value of the child first and then focus on the solution which is that there are lots of ways to remedy the bad grades through alternate materials. The parent is communicating to the child, quite clearly, that his value isn't his grades.

In the second situation, the parent believes that the truth of the situation justifies the complaining. Instead of focusing on the solution, the focus is on creating painful situations by withholding love, approval, freedom, and friendship (i.e. remaining mad at the child) so that the child will associate the idea of "bad grades" with "pain" and not repeat the bad grades. What happens, in actuality, is the child associates the idea of "bad grades" with "my parents don't love me." The kid comes to understand that he's not valuable. His performance is valuable. As long as he's giving his parents what they want, then he'll be loved, but if he's wholly himself, imperfect behavior and all, then he won't be accepted. Is this effective? No.

The truth of any situation doesn't justify negativity. The truth of the bad grades doesn't justify anger. The negativity isn't required, warranted, necessary, or even authorized. The negativity is a choice. It's a weak choice because it tries to solve a situation by focusing on the problem and ignoring the solution. The idea is that "if I just hate this situation hard enough, it will change." The hate fuels the problem and starves the solution. It's the exercise of impotence.

The next time you hear someone say, "He has a right to be angry. That was a terrible thing that happened," remind yourself that the truth of that situation doesn't justify anything. Therefore, that individual's anger isn't justified. It's chosen. Really what's going on is: "That bad thing happened, and he chose to be angry." Those are the mechanics.

What I'm getting at is that we're taught to react to life in ways that disempower us. In essence, we say, "This thing that I don't like happened, so I'm going to behave in this way that I don't like so that I'll be even more dissatisfied and thereby guarantee that I don't get what I want." The way out is to revoke the authority for negativity. You call a spade a spade. You can be negative, if you want, but no situation, no reality, no circumstance, no truth justifies the negativity.

You're reading by Samantha Standish. If you want to learn more about what happened in my out-of-body experience, my book, "Equal," is available for a nominal amount at,

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