I remember as a child watching Cowboys and Indian programs on Television. I talked about this recently in a post. I am not sure if our younger generations know much about these programs. The good cowboys would typically wear white hats. Gene Audry, the Lone Ranger, (although he did wear a black mask) and Roy Rogers all wore white hats. The good guys always wore white hats. Well, I do remember one exception, that was, "Hop Along Cassidy", (quite a name). The white symbolism is also a part of Christian heritage. The symbolism which represents light and purity is something many Christians have internalized. It is a color that frequently symbolizes love. I remember growing up Catholic not wanting any dark spots on my soul. That has not really worked out all that well. I have found it impossible to be good, "all the time", actually I find it hard to be good", much of the time. I prefer to think of myself as a decent person. Hopefully, I mostly treat others with consideration and respect. The dark spots on our soul were a sign of sin which we learned were bad. if we had too many of them on our soul we could be condemned to hell, or at least purgatory. Why is it that doing "bad things", can be so exciting and attractive anyway? We were not taught that each of has a dark side which needs to be accepted. Somehow we have learned to think at extremes. We might call this "dichotomous thinking", For me shades of gray were not easily understood as a child. Life was simple. A person was either good or bad. I was either good or bad. If I wasn't good than I must be bad. This all or nothing thinking can both simplify and complicate our lives. It might make it seem that the world is simple, and yet this type of thinking actually complicates our lives, and can create psychological, "mayhem", It may cause us to be alienated from both ourselves and others. Many of us tend to think of positive and negative in a dichotomous way. as well. What if we could temper "Positive Thinking", with some negativity. What if we could leave some space for, "Human Emotion", which is frequently framed as negative. At least the painful emotions such as anger, hurt, sorrow, and guilt are often framed as negative. When we are trying to make everything positive, we are setting ourselves up to be at war with ourselves, on the other hand if we don't notice what is positive, we are setting ourselves up to be unhappy. I was reading a very good article by Samara Quintero and Dr. Jamie Long entitled, "Toxic Positivity: The Dark Side of Positive Vibes". (Worthwhile reading) they mentioned this quote by Mark Manson: "Everything worthwhile in life is won through surmounting the associated negative experience. Any attempt to escape the negative, to avoid it or squash it or silence it, only backfires. The avoidance of suffering is a form of suffering. The avoidance of struggle is a struggle. The denial of failure is a failure. Hiding what is shameful is itself a form of shame". Neurosis itself is often framed as an avoidance of accepting emotion.
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