DISCUSSION FORMAT:

Watch the video below which is introducing a topic for discussion. DISCUSSIONS are for learning and developing more effective communication skillsets. The purpose is NOT to prove who is right or who is wrong.  The purpose s to notice your own reactions, thoughts, responses, assumptions. 

Surround yourself with people who challenge your thinking

... you will identify what you truly believe - and why.

VIDEO INTRODUCING TOPIC

SETTING THE STAGE

Notice! Notice your motives, thoughts, reactions, emotional responses, assumptions, opinions, etc.

Clarify! Did you really understand what someone said? Do you know where they are “coming from”? If unsure, clarify what you think you read, or are hearing.

Respect! Honor without disrespecting or entering into an argument. Practice – practice! Show gratitude for the dialogue.

GROUP TEXTS

The following conversation first began in a group phone text after sharing the video above. It was so rich with thoughts that we’ve brought it online for discussion and to learn how to have a productive and insightful conversation. THANK YOU FOR ALL OF YOU WHO JUMPED IN TO SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS!

Laura

Telling my story! Except instead of the new age/universe, it was “trust God” and “look at your own heart, not at his, lest you judge him.” I believe all these things still (forgiveness, trust, not judging someone else, etc., but in a better and healthier balance and understanding that I am permitted to set healthy boundaries for myself and it not be selfish. Still working on my belief systems of course, but they’re so much healthier now than they have been throughout my childhood and my married years. Thank God for truth and redemption to lead us out of danger and into safety. He’s so good!

Kathleen

First off, outstanding video! Dr. Ramani is exceptional at explaining the difference between being positive and toxic positivity. There’s a huge difference between keeping the peace and making peace. The first often leads you into bondage. The second often calls for war or at least confrontation.
This really helps me understand what’s going on inside of me when I’m frustrated or angry trying to talk through an issue in a relationship (verbal processor here) and some well-meaning person comes along and tries to shut me down for being negative or unforgiving. I love that this Doc calls things as they are; that’s rude and disrespectful of my person hood and my process to work through it.
And don’t get me started on the forgiveness piece. Christians especially do this miserably. Forgiveness is not the same thing as restoration of relationship! In all honesty I have to forgive for me not for them. But in no way does my forgiving someone give that person the right to abuse me. And if they don’t come to a place of acknowledging that abuse and changing to a point of not abusing, then there’s nothing that says I need to continue relationship with them, including the Bible. In fact, the Bible says after I’ve taken the appropriate steps to confront my abuser, if they don’t listen and change I am to treat them as a Heathen and end the relationship with them.

Shannon

I cringe when I hear Christians being interviewed on the news after a horrific crime, saying that they forgive because they feel like a failure if they are angry it negative.

Billie

Oh shannon, I didn’t know we were allowed to say that out loud. I always wonder what kind of teaching does it take that they feel they have to say that and try to mean it!

Laura

Thank you, Kathleen, for your examples. I’ve had to adjust my belief of forgiveness meaning reconciliation too. I wanted peace at any cost – and boy, did it cost!

Billie

Laura, I loved every word of what you wrote concerning this video. knowing a small portion of what you have been through in this life and the part that religion has played in it makes every one of your words so meaningful to me.
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.

Kathleen

I’m with you Billie. What you’ve been through Laura, no amount of positive thinking can fix it. On the other hand, having someone who helped you reframe your thinking and helped you see what was really going on and that it wasn’t your fault nor your responsibility to fix; this type of positivity is empowering!

You’re absolutely right Shannon!

And how can anybody change their behavior as an abuser if they don’t first acknowledge that what they’re doing is wrong?

Laura

Thank you, Billie. It’s nice to be surrounded by safe friends who understand. So many have the opinion of me that I just got tired of being married and didn’t care that the family was torn apart. They don’t know details so of course, that’s how it looks when we gave the image that we had the perfect family. This narcissistic system is deadly. Thank you all for being here! I love and appreciate Circles so much. Thanks you, Shannon, for following “the why” of your heart!! We are so blessed!

Exactly Kathleen!

So thankful that God sent Shannon to walk me through so much!

Helen

Laura you are such a beautiful role model. You have such a wonderful silent strength about you. I have been in awe of you since I met you. You have taught me SOOoOo much.
We all have been blessed to have you in our lives. Thank you for sharing your life with us. Love you. ❤️❤️❤️

Kathleen

I am so thankful that Shannon walked you (Laura) through this. My respect for you continues to grow.
And I’m grateful to you, Shannon, for all the blood sweat and tears that you walked through in order to be in a position to walk with Laura through this. I know I wouldn’t be on the journey to becoming a life coach if it weren’t for you encouraging me and helping me reframe my thinking. I remember the first time you suggested life coaching to me. I immediately dismissed the possibility and I didn’t have a clue what I was dismissing.
Shannon, I’m struggling to find words that are strong enough to express the value of what you bring to to my life and to Circles. I cannot thank you enough for introducing me to this amazing group of women!

When so much of the rest of the world including the body of Christ easily dismisses us as being “over the hill”, I feel like God has brought you to give us a new lease on life. After all, most of us have finally reached middle-age. And some of the greatest figures in history had their finest moments in the years we’re just beginning to enter.

Laura

Thanks Helen and Kathleen. That means a lot to me. So grateful for you!

Laura

VERY WELL SAID KATHLEEN!!

Andi

My truth is the Word of God.
Gaslighting, narcissism are works of the flesh and is sin.
Positivity thinkers comes from way back. Norman Vincent Peale and Robert Schuller in the positive thinking and today it is with Word of faith preachers, Joel Osteen and in that Camp. It’s fakery and brainwashing cult.
I judged people (Christians) by their fruit according to the scriptures in Galatians 5-6. God judges those outside of the church, unbelievers. I was once an unbeliever and God brought many believers into my life that lived the Scripture and it caused me to ask them questions about their life being quite different than I was and those I grew up with (unbelievers).

I am a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, He gave us His Word for directions in every area of our life. What does the Bible say about narcissism? It is pride. We all have it. It is what we do with it. A believer in Jesus would repent and humble ourselves and live the life according to Galatians. (It is our bible study chapter for today).

Laura

I know and am in agreement with you in that, Andi. It is the highest authority of truth in my life, but not the only source of truth. I love seeing truth showing up in the most unexpected places. I’m finding explanations from secular sources to scriptures I was raised on like they’ve never been explained to me in the church. It reminds me of that verse that talks about how the gentiles did by nature what the law instructed God’s chosen to live by. And now we see it all the time with believers/non-believers. Many times, His principles are followed out much more by non-believers than by people who claim to know Christ, but don’t follow his ways because they think forgiveness comes without accountability. This is how I see narcissism. I was glad Dr Ramani touched on that the way she did. And I loved the follow up from Kathleen that forgiveness doesn’t always mean there is reconciliation
and how scripture instructs us in how to set healthy boundaries even if it means disconnecting completely from someone who is unrepentant in their behavior towards us. Good stuff!!!

Laura

I believe positive thinking is vital for living full out. Goes right along with gratitude. But if it’s out of balance, it becomes toxic and we become easy targets to be trampled underfoot by those who don’t care how they go about getting what they crave. I made it easy because I was already self abusing by my own belief systems before Robert ever came along. They were very convenient for him to continue in his ways without repentance or accountability.

Shannon (This message was written, but did not send in the original conversation. I’m sharing it in sequence here)

This is a really great example of identifying the true meaning versus a counterfeit meaning. How do we judge what is life-giving and how do we identify what is a lie, even though scripture may be quoted, or another outside source is quoted?

Andi

Where is that verse you are speaking of?

Laura

I know and am in agreement with you in that, Andi. It is the highest authority of truth in my life, but not the only source of truth. I love seeing truth showing up in the most unexpected places. I’m finding explanations from secular sources to scriptures I was raised on like they’ve never been explained to me in the church. It reminds me of that verse that talks about how the gentiles did by nature what the law instructed God’s chosen to live by. And now we see it all the time with believers/non-believers. Many times, His principles are followed out much more by non-believers than by people who claim to know Christ, but don’t follow his ways because they think forgiveness comes without accountability. This is how I see narcissism. I was glad Dr Ramani touched on that the way she did. And I loved the follow up from Kathleen that forgiveness doesn’t always mean there is reconciliation and how scripture instructs us in how to set healthy boundaries even if it means disconnecting completely from someone who is unrepentant in their behavior towards us. Good stuff!!!

Laura

I believe positive thinking is vital for living full out. Goes right along with gratitude. But if it’s out of balance, it becomes toxic and we become easy targets to be trampled underfoot by those who don’t care how they go about getting what they crave. I made it easy because I was already self abusing by my own belief systems before Robert ever came along. They were very convenient for him to continue in his ways without repentance or accountability.

Kathleen

Which verse are you referring to Andi? The verse that I talked about earlier in regards to walking out the proper steps to forgiveness and if the person doesn’t repent them to treat them like a heathen or an unbeliever? Or something that Laura was referring to?

Ronnie

Reading responses but, not going to add anything. For me….

Laura

Romans 2 (read – open external link)

Andi

I wouldn’t trust teachings from a wolf in sheep clothing for their interpretation of holy Scriptures.

Who was Paul talking to in Romans 2?

Laura

I don’t trust myself in the interpretation of scripture. That’s why we were given the Holy Spirit….to discern trurh from lies. I don’t trust any person to interpret for me regardless of what their credentials are. I trust that anyone who is sincerely crying out for truth, that is the one who finds it. His sheep hear his voice and another they will not follow.

Have you enjoyed reading this conversation?  You are invited to comment below to continue the conversation or comment on the conversation.

Do you have a different point of view? What thoughts, beliefs, and/or emotions have you noticed in yourself as you read? Do you relate with one of the speakers? Have you learned something you hadn’t thought of before? What would you like to add?

ADD YOUR COMMENT BELOW!

15 thoughts on “Positive Thinking – Is it a Good Thing or a Toxic Thing? (Discussion)

  1. Andi, I forgot to answer one of your questions. It was written by Paul “To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people”

  2. I really enjoyed her video. I have Had the same feelings about theses positive speakers for some time. I would always say. What happened to reality. Life can be shitty, it can put us on our butt. There are really mad evil people in the world. No I won’t forgive them or pretend they don’t exist. God forgives; I back away turn around and RUN. Forgiving evil is not MY JOB. Setting boundaries, becoming Mentally healthy &Strong, LOVING myself being myself, Protecting myself. IS MY JOB. With Gods grace, love and the strength I KNOW and Believe he will give me now and forever more.

  3. When it comes to forgiving, I have two thoughts immediately. 1- If I don’t forgive, I won’t be forgiven. I PREFER to show mercy and have reconciliation because I know how much I need it in my own life and how thankful I am when I screw up and someone encourages me to keep moving forward. Forgiving myself is many times so much harder to do than forgiving someone else. 2- Echoing Kathleen, a big part of my reason for choosing to forgive is for my own benefit as much, if not more than for the offender. I don’t like to have bitterness, anger and resentment ruling my thoughts and emotions. It takes away my peace that I value so much and it makes it hard to function in life period. It is so much more beneficial for me when I can set whatever boundaries necessary that will be honored. If they aren’t honored, it’s time to cut ties. I grieve what I wished would’ve, could’ve and should’ve been, but I won’t stand around and let offenses continue without true repentance and change.

  4. I loved the video. She was so direct and unapologetic, which is so refreshing. I am so tired of passive aggressive conversations.

    As I listened, my first thoughts were that her ‘spiritual’ references (universe etc) could be totally interchanged for ‘church doctrine’ in my life’s journey.

    I appreciate her consistency and strength in focus. It helped me to check in with what was one truth in my life. I still get so very angry when ‘good people’ feel so ‘right’ in ‘sharing’ ‘truth’. Do I forgive their arrogance or just smile and nod and say ‘thank you”? They rarely really listen, only frantically share their convictions…almost like they are afraid some timer will go off. Not sure what that is about. What are they afraid of? Hmmm….

    Thank you all for sharing your thoughts….so very interesting. I imagine your group discussions get pretty intense, loving, challenging and encouraging.

  5. OOPS That was from me, Andi.
    “I can’t find scriptures that tells me I have to forgive myself (and/or to forgive God”.

  6. I watched Dr. Rami’s video and felt I was going in and out with her information and then she said she is a Humanist. I looked up the differences between Christianity and Humanism.
    Humanists usually do not believe that God even exists. Humanists believe mankind is the highest entity.
    Christianity believes God is the highest Entity. He is perfect in wisdom, power, might and love. He is to be worshipped.
    These two oppose one another.

  7. There are some really interesting observations, thoughts, and comments here. As you read through, jot down any belief systems or concerns you’ve read. Also, jot down any emotions or reactions you might have had while reading the comments above.

    The task at hand is to ask clarifying questions to understand the thinking behind what someone has said and discuss it further. Again, the goal is to learn how to communicate and understand one another, while discovering what we believe – and why.

    There are no right or wrong answers. We’ll make time on Relationship Circles to explore these thoughts more fully which were inspired by the video. Thank you all so much for “playing” along! You are welcome to continue posting comments …

  8. I thank each of you for sharing such heartfelt and thoughtful commentary.
    It gives me much to think about. It never ceases to amaze me that in thoughtfully viewing a video how we each will listen to it with our own ears and from our own experiences. It gives the gift of so much added knowledge to consider when reading each if your well thoughtout comments.

  9. Why did a video on narcissists turn into a religious discussion? I have no idea. I would have liked to discuss the topic that was discussed without it.

    1. I hear you and agree to a point. Unfortunately for me, so much of my recent experience with narcissism, was in my last church. The hypocrisy is so intertwined with my soul re-discovery, it is hard to separate them. Does that make sense?

  10. It’s not too late. The discussion hasn’t ended. Do you have any questions or statements regarding narcissism? For me, I’ve already shared about my experience with it at the beginning of this thread, but I’m open for discussing more if you want to continue. Anyone?

  11. Just a side note to hopefully shed some light on why it seems like the conversation took a turn….From what I understand, one of the goals of Circles is to bring a topic up to discuss and see where it goes organically and spontaneously as we talk about what comes up in each of us regarding what we heard. This is simply learning and respecting each other’s belief systems as they surface in conversation and it’s what I’ve valued most about Circles since I first heard of it. The freedom to be who I am, where I am; knowing that I can speak what is coming up in me and be assured that I won’t be shot down or shut up for saying it. Questions may be asked of me out of curiosity and wanting to know more about how I came to my belief, but it’s done out of respect and honor and love, not out of trying to make me change my beliefs to agree with someone else’s. To me, this discussion could’ve gone anywhere depending on who wants to comment or throw a question out there. If there are comments about narcissism that you related to, or have questions about, you are free to open that vein of conversation. It just happened to go in a different direction because that is what came up for someone.

  12. So I went back up and found a question that didn’t get addressed….I guess I’ll have my own discussion here. hahahaha
    Andi asked: I can’t find scriptures that tells me I have to forgive myself (and/or to forgive God).

    Forgive God for what?! He is perfect in all His ways! 😉

    Forgiving ourselves:
    Is it even possible to receive God’s forgiveness while holding a grudge against ourselves/not forgiving ourselves?

    “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

    If I hate myself for my mistakes and learning curves, misunderstandings, etc. will I not also hate others for theirs?
    If I love and forgive myself and encourage myself in my own learning curves and failures (receive HIS forgiveness and encouragement), will it not naturally be an overflow out of that mercy and forgiveness that I will then be able to show the same love to others and be patient with their growth as well?

    Boundaries:
    If I can’t set healthy boundaries with myself, I won’t be able to set healthy boundaries with others. Forgiveness doesn’t mean allowing abuse to continue.
    This is where this ties into the topic of narcissism. Narcissistic behavior refuses to honor and respect boundaries and the only time you’ll hear them talking about forgiveness is when they want it for themselves with no expectations for change or repentance on their part. They want you to keep wiping the slate clean over and over with no accountability or consequence for their damaging behaviors. Oh….and watch out for this one….”If you loved me like God loves me, you’d forgive me and never bring it up again.” There is no empathy towards you for the pain or damage they have done and they have no interest in finding ways to help you heal from the pain they have caused you. There is no true remorse or concern for what you feel. Only what they crave. Power, control, and freedom to do as they please at all times without confrontation or resistance.

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