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Positive Thinking, The Secret, Huna....

Discussion in 'Spirituality and ME/CFS' started by Joyful Lady, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. Jarod

    Jarod Senior Member

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    How does positive thinking relate to doctors not being completely candid about a patients diagnosis or prognosis? It seems to me there might be some kind of connection there.

    Is there some kind of psychobabble explanation for that? Or is there really merit to somehow keeping a certain group of people in the dark about their illness? It seems to me truth is the most spiritual thing around and I can't see personally trying to live any other way.

    I suffered for years because doctors never gave me a straight answer on what was wrong with me. I went from doctor, to doctor, to doctor, and essentially postponed my life. Always hoping things would change or get better.

    I actually led to me living in complete denial and prevented me from getting treatment earlier. Not only that, but I practically lost everything because of being in some kind of bizarre trance about the reality of my situation.

    I have finally come to peace with my real situation and am much happier knowing where I stand. I now focus on finding simple pleasures that I can do here and there more frequently.

    I still like to think I may be able to ride off road motorcycles again, run again, or actually think again, but I'm not waiting around for anything.
  2. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    Yeah. When medical staff think it's acceptable for them to manage the cognitions of patients, it very easily slips in to a justification for telling the patient whatever the doctor wants them to hear. It's easy for a doctor to not take account of the real hardship which is caused by the provision of 'positive' views of one's condition or prognosis, as the problems it leads to tend to be outside the medical realm. I think it can become an equation of 'If positive thinking helps their recovery, great. If not, no skin off my nose.'
  3. Joyful Lady

    Joyful Lady Guest

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    RE: But I hope you don't mean to suggest that all medical research should therefore cease, and that all sick and disabled people should concentrate instead on curing themselves through the power of their own minds.

    Absolutely not. I am "for" whatever works for an individual and that varies.

    I just saw the beginning of this post - accidentally actually -- as I had searched for either "closed-minded" or "narrow-minded" for a completely different reason. The thread caught my attention and being a student and teacher of human thriving it struck me that (at least at the beginning of the thread to which I originally responded -- the moderators have now created an entirely new thread for this discussion) -- that the concept/idea of any impact from the mind was being summarily dismissed.

    The mind does have an impact on how anyone functions -- whether they have a disease or not. If someone wakes up in the morning and spends five minutes telling someone how poorly they feel (when they feel just fine) -- most people, in just a little while -- will feel less well than they did before they said those words. The reverse is true as well. Even someone who is feeling poorly can feel better (I am speaking in degrees --- not cures here) by focusing on what does feel good about their bodies. Maybe one part hurts or feels weak or ? but there is some part that feels great. Maybe they spend 5 minutes treating themselves to a whole body moisturizing treatment and while they do it they focus on how much their skin enjoys soaking it up and how good it smells, etc.

    Either way can have an impact.

    So my entire point in posting at all was to share information that I hoped someone might find beneficial.

    I can understand, to some degree, how it feels to have physical symptoms dismissed. When I was 11 I broke my tailbone -- fell down skating. But because I hated PE everyone, my parents, teacher, all adults - thought I was just complaining because I wanted out of PE and it was years later when I finally saw a chiro and had it x-rayed. It has caused considerable pain off and on for a long time. I was also very aware, growing up in the era that I did and entering the business world, of how women were often seen as emotional creatures and it was reinforced to me again and again, by well-meaning (but misguided) people that I should suppress emotions and femininity at work. I know this is not the same as what has happened with ME/CFS but I do have some understanding.

    There is a lot of science that shows immune function improves with positive emotions. To me it seems pretty simple that if they take a blood sample then do something to increase positive emotion and take another, compare the two and find that the immune system has kicked into a higher gear after the emotional switch that there is something beneficial about being positive. But, that depends on the point of view (POV) of the individual at hand. There was one person who said it felt like a biased view to feel positive. That person is certainly entitled to their POV and if that is how they feel that person would not feel as good if they made an attempt to feel positively because they perceive reality as something other than that.

    Thoughts actually create meaning for events in life (Rubenstein, 1999). Our minds fill in missing details to help us make sense of the world. The details our minds supply are based less on reality than on our beliefs, expectations, and emotional stance. These details, sometimes referred to as "back stories," are as unique as fingerprints. Based on the "back story" [R10] chosen, the event will be experienced (felt emotionally) as if the assigned reason is accurate (Seligman, 2006). Even identical twins will create different "back stories" about most events they experience. The "back-story" is really where we derive meaning. If someone cancels an appointment with us at the last minute we can perceive it in about a million different ways. Even if a reason is supplied we (humans) have to decide to accept or not accept the reason supplied as truthful. Some people will see the cancellation in ways that feel bad and some will interpret it in ways that feel good. Each gets to choose and their experience of reality will differ based on what choice they make. Most people go through this process, many times a day, without thought about what choice they are making. They are on auto-pilot. Someone who is frequently frustrated tends to apply a reason that makes it seem frustrating. Someone who is in a general state of appreciation will find something to appreciate about it (perhaps their day had been overbooked and this cancellation opens up some much needed respite from a busy schedule), another who tends to feel victimized may provide a reason that feels unfair (perhaps thinking that the person found someone they thought it was more beneficial to spend their time with) -- these are just examples; there are more reasons than I could come up with in a week of typing that could be supplied by individual perspectives. The point is that whatever reason or "back-story" the individual assigns to the event -- that is how the person experiences the event emotionally.

    In my class I then ask people what serves them better. Let's say this is a friend who has cancelled. Does being angry with the friend serve them well? It is certainly not an uncommon response but does it serve the higher goal of being a loving friend? of being understanding and compassionate? Of nurturing the friendship? Does it feel good? Or could the person decide to let the friend off the hook, perhaps remembering times when things came up and they had to cancel appointments - and remember that when that happens it usually has nothing to do with how much they value the friend but about something going on in their own life at that moment.

    So, when I say I have a positive bias I mean that I let folks off the hook. I do not take things personally. For one, I understand a lot (I won't bore you with it here) that how a person is feeling emotionally has a great deal to do with their in-the-moment behavior. Someone who is already frustrated will react very differently to a spouse who forgot to do something on the way home than someone who is feeling upbeat and happy would. Their reaction/words reflect on where they are emotionally. I also know that if I don't like (if their behavior) dos not feel good to me -- that responding negatively just escalates what I do not want. Whereas, if I understand that the behavior is because they do not feel good and I see a way to lighten their mood (respond with compassion and often, humor) then I am far more likely to get what I want -- someone who is in a good enough mood to be pleasant company.

    Another example, one that showed me how much I had changed my 'automatic' responses was when my youngest began college and then after the 1st semester decided to move back home and go to school locally. An old friend who was much as I used to be, upon hearing about it, asked me "Weren't you angry?". I reflected for a moment, could not think of anything I had been remotely angry about so I finally had to ask her, "Why would I have been angry?" To which she immediately responded with a list of things I gave no attention to at all, things which, if I had focused on them would not have served me well in maintaining a good relationship with my daughter. I had focused on what I refer to as the positive aspects of her decision. There were just as many of those as negative and really, it was her life and her decision where she went to school and at age 17 trying something and finding it not to your liking (being away from home, etc.) is not a fail - it is a learning experience.

    The school close to home had a wider selection of majors to choose from and since she was undecided I saw this as very positive, it was less expensive even when the 50% scholarship she had for the private away college was considered, I did not mind having to move her home again (I would have done it in the spring anyway - December or May -- what difference did it make?). There were benefits as well, she could take care of her dog when I went on business trips was one. Was my friends' view wrong? Did it reflect reality? Yes, it did. But I also saw clearly that it did not serve my highest goals -- a primary one being to maintain a good, loving and supportive relationship with my children. That goal, in my worldview, is far more important to me than which college she chooses to attend. Did the aspects I focused on reflect reality? Yes. Is there a benefit in seeing both? I don't really think so -- certainly in some situations there is a benefit and I have always been analytical and believe I do enough analysis when it is warranted. But the situation with my daughter could be analyzed ad infinitum to determine myriad ways reality could be interpreted -- all of them with some measure of truth -- only differentiated by what is chosen to focus upon. So, for me, it is far easier to go to my higher goals, which in that case was the type of relationship I want with my children.

    My point is that there are as many ways of interpreting reality as there are individuals. Many of us do not understand how much choice and flexibility we actually have to make things feel better without requiring the impossible (other people being different than they are) in order to make us happier.
  4. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    It cheered me right up. If you aim to be anything more than entertainment, and an illustration of how positivity leads to quackery, you should probably start trying to explain some of your claims about quantum mechanics. Or perhaps you think that they should be appreciated as a 'different' view of reality? A more inspiring narrative, to help propel people towards personal spiritual fulfilment?
    allyb and Valentijn like this.
  5. Joyful Lady

    Joyful Lady Guest

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    No, I am not talking about the "put the happy face sticker" over it sort of positivity. That is not authentic and being inauthentic is worse than being negative.

    Someone else said something about this is "Blame the victim". Let me state that I am not in any way, shape, or form "blaming the victim." In fact, I believe the rhetoric about blaming the victim has stymied research into this field which I believe could help many individuals -- if not those in this Forum, there are other illnesses they could help.

    I will elaborate and hopefully my perspective will be understood. In no way, shape, or form am I saying anyone is making this up. NOR am I saying anyone deliberately brought this on themselves. I am saying that there are thought patterns and common beliefs about life in general (please do not confuse beliefs with religious beliefs which are just one component of a larger category of beliefs and not what I am referring to here). Society, parents, teachers, clergy, television, and friends teach us thought patterns that may or may not serve us or our health.

    If we lived in a world that fully understood the mind-body connection and everyone was encouraged to understand the connection and had full disclosure of the impact "If you perceive life this way then this" and "If you perceive life that way then that" but we are a far cry from living in that world so there is no way nor any desire to blame a victim. As one of my first posts said -- I have zero interest in blaming anyone -- I am far more interested in looking forward for positive things we can do -- I see potential for benefit there. I see zero potential for looking back and attempting to blame anyone.

    I also do not perceive people as victims. Being a victim is a very dis-empowered perspective. I am far more likely to think of someone, in my own mind, as either a "survivor" or a "thriver" and I love helping others thrive. I even get singers to sing "I will thrive" instead of "I will survive" in a song many of us may be familiar with.

    When we perceive any talk of the mind-body connection as "blaming the victim" we shut the door on learning anything about it.

    At this stage of human history, when individuals are provided with so little information about the impact of their thoughts on their life -- taking the conversation away from illness for a moment here -- what we believe has a direct impact on the filters in our brains and what we are made consciously aware of. Our senses are aware of far more than we are consciously made aware of. For example, if you are having a conversation with one person in a crowded room you can hear the conversation because your focus on the individuals voice makes your brain filter out the other noises. If you are a parent you may still also hear "Mom" or "Dad" while focusing but the conversation two feet over your right shoulder about someones bunions will not register - unless for some reason you have been recently focused on or have an interest in bunions in which case your brain will let enough of that conversation into your conscious mind for you to realize you may want to listen or join in.

    So, if an individual is taught to believe, or observes an instance (or multiple instances) of something and forms an opinion ( a believe is just a thought that is thought often enough that it becomes a belief) their brain then filters out information that is inconsistent with that belief. It is amazing to watch and I can provide many dozens of examples of two people hearing the same words but, because they have different beliefs, what they hear and perceive is worlds apart.

    No one who understands how beliefs and expectations impact the brain filter and how convoluted the differing beliefs that abound on this planet are would ever come close to blaming an individual for not figuring it all out. But they would, seeing people expressing pain and rejecting any thoughts of the mind-body connection that might provide some benefit to them, attempt to provide understandable information that might help and see value in spending their time doing that even if there is only one who benefits -- it would be deemed a worthwhile effort, IMO.
  6. Joyful Lady

    Joyful Lady Guest

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    Regrowing limbs would require a belief that it was possible to do so. Most people do not believe something is possible unless and until someone else succeeds in doing the thing. Once someone else does something others begin to see it as possible for them.

    Those who are first are few and far between.
  7. Joyful Lady

    Joyful Lady Guest

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    I am not sure if this is directed at me. I did use color to highlight the sentence I am referring to above - but hopefully navy blue is readable (I also added italics so what I am responding to is clear.. If you believe I have done this I encourage you to re-read my posts as this was never my intent nor do I believe that my words could easily be interpreted this way unless an individual is already feeling so much like this is how the world is that they interpret words in that way to fit their own worldview instead of having an accurate understanding of what was being communicated. I am not now, nor was I, judging sick people. My posts have all been in a spirit of attempting to provide helpful and useful information. There are others who have spoken of "blaming the victim" and perhaps reading their posts caused a belief that someone was doing that here. I have not made, nor have I seen a post in this thread (I am not yet finished reading all of them) that blames the victim. I see a lot that are attempting to provide useful information.
  8. Joyful Lady

    Joyful Lady Guest

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    Affirmations in which an individual does not believe are worse than worthless - they actually go counter to what is desired because the mind argues with what is not believed and more firmly believes in the opposite.

    Only affirmations that are believed have value.

    Science has demonstrated this quite remarkably.

    I do not believe in false positivity as being beneficial - in fact, in-authenticity is harmful.

    In one way many of the posts here are accurate. There are many who are teaching positivity who don't know the first thing about it -- who don't know the science and who teach things that are wrong and even harmful.

    I find it strange that "The Secret" was added to the title of this thread because the really funny thing about the movie The Secret is that Rhonda did not disclose the "secret" in the movie. She gives the impression she has but she has not and anyone attempting to use what is taught in that movie without a great deal more information is as likely to do more harm than good.

    But the fact that many have jumped on the band wagon and are holding themselves out as teachers when they do not understand or know even the basics (such as not doing affirmations that are not believed) and, if I focus on those, I can find myself in a very negative place. I cannot stop them anymore than I can stop the lies on television or anywhere else so, since I cannot control it, I put my focus on what I can control.
  9. Whit

    Whit Senior Member

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    nevermind... not worth it
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  10. Joyful Lady

    Joyful Lady Guest

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    How do you explain that depressed Mom's to be have children with more behavior problems, more sleep problems, and more asthma? All of these statements are supported by studies published earlier this year.

    Let me make it clear - I am not blaming the Mom's for being depressed. In fact, another study showed that depression is a risk factor for teen pregnancy (not sure why they needed a study for that one).

    I am, however, saying that, with 10% of our youth (worldwide) suffering bouts of depression in a given year (this is grossly understating the statistics on depression) that we have to do something, gain a greater understanding of the cause and help these people.

    Understanding how the brain works and how to use it more effectively is showing good results in preliminary studies -- more beneficial and longer sustainability than traditional methods.
  11. Joyful Lady

    Joyful Lady Guest

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    Please see one of my earlier posts from this evening which explains how I arrived at this site and why I posted.
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  12. Joyful Lady

    Joyful Lady Guest

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    Depending on the environment, CBT translates to different meanings. I do not know the definition of it in this environment. If someone would enlighten me? I would appreciate it. Thank you.
  13. Kina

    Kina Moderation Team Lead

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    Joyful Lady. Why do you feel it necessary to come to a forum for people with ME/CFS and write the things you do. Do you have ME/CFS? If you did, you probably wouldn't be saying half the things you are.

    Positive thinking helps people cope, it does not cure disease. I used to be a palliative care Nurse. I looked after many people with many different outlooks on their illnesses. I had a patient who had all her bowels/intestines removed due to be riddled with Cancer. She could not eat or drink. She was kept alive with IV feedings. She missed the taste of food and drink so she would chew food and spit it out. She had a very positive outlook. Life was meant to be lived for the moments she had left and she lived those moments to their fullest. I had patients who were given their diagnosis and cured up in a ball and stayed that way until they died. The fact is here, positive feelings/negative feelings did not save them.

    You said:
    Do you think typing in larger letters makes what you are saying more relevant. It really doesn't. Do you think telling extremely ill people to think more positively is helpful and useful. It's really not. I am a very positive person and every day, I make sure I am positive. It helps me cope but it changes nothing to do with my illness. One day I am in so much pain I can barely stand it, I can't stand up because I am too dizzy to do so, yet my thinking never wavers -- I won't let it get to me -- I find happiness in really small things. I find humor in many things, I work on remaining positive. I think people who are sick for years have figured this out all by themselves.

    You are not providing useful information and yes you are blaming the victim because you are stating implicitly that if people remain sick it is by their own doing because their thought processes are wrong. I for one am sick of all this psychobabble. We aren't looking for answers rooted in psychology. We are looking for answers rooted in physiology. There will be no psychological cure. You talk of how positive thinking can affect the common cold. We don't have a cold.

    I suppose you really should find a general health forum for run of the mill issues that might be helped by positive thinking. I have no issues with mind/body interactions. Of course how you think about an illness will affect how you cope, but how you think about an illness will not make the illness go away.

    Please respect the members of this forum and understand that we really really REALLY don't appreciate some of your posts.

    Disclaimer -- not a Moderator post, a post from another patient who thinks positively but is still quite ill.
  14. Jacque

    Jacque Senior Member

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    Joyful lady...you are obviously OBLIVIOUS to this illness.... I also have a broken tail bone in addition to having my immune system DERAILED from a TICK BITE....NOT....negative thinking! How in the world do you take what I said about babies having cancer and chemo and spring into depression in children, due to their MOTHERS! Wow that is quite a LEAP... How about nutritional deficiencies and electrical bombardment...? You and your children are obviously perfect...so WHY are you here anyhow??? How you found yourself here befuddles me because you sure aren't makin any friends sista!!!

    I guess I could sit and focus on the fact that my HAIR and my NOSE do not hurt hourls and daily...but somehow I don't think that is going to get me WELL...

    I really wish you had this miserable illness so you knew what the hell you are talking about!!!!!

    AGGRAVATING!!
    warriorseekspeace likes this.
  15. Jacque

    Jacque Senior Member

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    You still did not answer my question!!!!!
  16. Joyful Lady

    Joyful Lady Guest

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    RE:

    P.S. I find the idea that anyone "chose" this or any illness to be completely repugnant and odious at best. Saying unconscious patterns of thought that we've acquired could be influencing our health is one thing, saying we therefore "chose" to be sick is absolutely offensive, abhorrent, irresponsible, and even abusive, imo.

    I say patterns of thought can influence health. I also say, and stand behind, that while the patterns of thought that are harmful were probably not chosen deliberately (even if unknowing a potential impact) -- most humans on the planet are on "default mode" with their patterns of thought. No one has ever told them they have a choice or the impact those choices can make, not just on the health of their body but on the quality of their life in so many ways.

    Ever known someone who repeatedly gets in relationships with people who are not what she or he wants and when you take your conversations deeper with that individual find that they believe that is just how men (or women) are? That the person literally does not see that there are good men and women in the world? -- You don't have to go back and figure out why he or she felt this way -- it really won't change the past so it is a pointless waste of time. That no matter how optimistic he or she is in the beginning stages of a relationship they keep repeating? If that person changes his or her belief, perhaps first says to themselves, "I am going to look for evidence that there are good men or women in the world" and then begins seeing examples, sufficient to change the belief to "there are some good men (or women) in the world." Then, for the first time in their life someone who does not fit the pattern, someone who is better, shows up. Their brain, because of their belief, was literally filtering out any men (or women) that fit a category that the person did not believe existed. I have not only seen this repeatedly play out, I have (delightfully) experienced it in my own life with my partner now being a man who is better than I believed any man on the planet could be. My brain would have filtered out his interest before I changed my concept about this area of my life. For me it was not just that there weren't good men -- it was more a belief that I did not deserve one and that they were all taken anyway so a good one would not show up in my life. Once I changed the belief the men who showed up changed because my brain was no longer filtering out (or arguing against) the good ones. As long as I held the more negative beliefs that was what I experienced. When I changed my beliefs my experiences changed.

    If I had known that my patterns of thought about men was negatively impacting my experience I would have changed them much sooner. Like almost everyone on the planet, I was just responding to my experiences and what I was told by authority figures -- a sheep, so to speak. I was not deciding for myself "what do I want to believe about this topic or any other". I did not even realize I could make such choices.

    To imply that attempting to provide knowledge to individuals about how much control they can have while fully acknowledging that most do not know and that society, and most of its institutions, teach things in direct opposition to, is blaming is mis-reading what is being written. I am providing knowledge based upon my worldview that I have found very beneficial in my life and coming from a desire to share knowledge in the hopes that it benefits others.

    In an earlier post I explained how I arrived at this forum and how I was inspired to write.

    I can also see that many people have formed such adverse viewpoints that my words make them uncomfortable and are not providing anything that uplifts them so while I will probably read the rest of the comments I believe my, as one put it, "mysterious" appearance here, will be coming to an end.

    I do hope that at least one person has found value in something I have written. I continue to wish you all well.
  17. Joyful Lady

    Joyful Lady Guest

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    This is not an appropriate forum for the answer you seek. I know it but I will not answer that question here.
  18. jeffrez

    jeffrez Senior Member

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    I think a lot of PWCs are afraid that if we acknowledge that some of our thinking, especially from the unconscious, affects our health, that means we'll be admitting that our disorder/s are "all in our minds." But imo the idea that our thoughts or unconscious have nothing to do with our state of health is reductionist - it reduces our health to just a purely physical phenomenon - and it also tends to support or lend credence to the artificial dichotomy that's set up and enforced by mainstream medicine between mind and body. I think that reductionistic mainstream perspective - i.e., that body is somehow separate from mind - does a lot more damage to people than recognizing that mind does in fact influence health.
    Joyful Lady likes this.
  19. Whit

    Whit Senior Member

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    I'm going to assume that Joyful Lady does not have a serious illness. And this line of thinking coincidentally affirms her thought patterns and way of life to be healthy because she is healthy.

    What you're saying is rather insulting because to be this sick from my thought patterns, I'd have to not only be completely unaware of who I am but also have very self destructive way of thinking. And those are two things I have worked on a lot over the years. When I look around, I see a lot of people who are very negative and very unaware of themselves who are quite healthy. So what does that say about me if what you're saying is true?

    What we have here is someone who is lucky enough to be healthy, making conclusions that feel good to her and reinforce the idea that she is healthy and won't get sick like we have because she knows how to live better than us.

    It's the same line of thinking that forced me to stop talking to everyone I used to know in my former life.
  20. jeffrez

    jeffrez Senior Member

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    Ok, so you just admitted that it wasn't a choice. You said people were on "default mode," which you suggested means that they are in fact not choosing anything.

    I don't dispute the idea that patterns of thought can influence health, or, if negative, produce disease. No rational person would dispute that, b/c we know that certain patterns of thought (type A personality, anger, etc.) can tend to produce cardiovascular issues. E.g.: http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/features/how-anger-hurts-your-heart

    In that case, however, one can really only say that the person has chosen that pattern of thought or behavior, not that they have chosen to be sick. And I think that's even more true with unconscious material - which, by definition, we have no conscious control over. If we did, it wouldn't be unconscious. ;-)

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