On Magical Thinking

Let’s talk about magical thinking for a minute. This is actually a saying I was only partially familiar with until quite recently, and now I can’t stop using it.

Magical thinking, in my own words, is the belief that our thoughts can change the outcome of a situation, for better or worse. I do this. A LOT. Only, when I do it, I only believe in the “for worse”.

“The Secret” (that weird and, in my opinion, totally bullshit cultural phenomenon from the mid-2000’s) basically claimed that magical thinking was a real, life improving possibility and that you just have to put those positive vibes out there. Want a better career? Put it out there into the universe. Want to cure your cancer? Just will it to happen.  Full disclosure, I didn’t read “The Secret,” but I have discussed this ridiculous notion with my therapist on several occasions. Not so ironically, my therapist, Dr. C, actually reported a spike in patients around this time, because so many people actually became afraid of their own thoughts. People worried that if they “accidentally” had a negative thought they would destroy chances of good occurring in their lives. They also wondered why said “good” things weren’t happening, what with all the positive vibes they were putting out there. Spoiler alert: not only does this not positively or negatively affect things happening for you, but you can actually control many things with good ol’ fashioned hard work.  I mean, it all sounds crazy, right? Right. Buuuuuuuuuut, I can’t stop obsessing about it.

You see, my magical thinking consists mainly of me worrying that everything I want, that I can’t control, is, in fact, being controlled by my worrying thoughts. For example, I am ready and very much wanting to get pregnant. Beyond, getting it on at approximately the right time each month, this is not exactly something that I can control. I know that, you know that, anyone with a brain and some basic knowledge of biology knows that. HOWEVER, I can’t help feeling overwhelmingly concerned that my wanting it too badly, combined with my personality’s natural pessimism is preventing this from happening for me.

How many times have you heard – regarding any number of situations – ‘it’ll happen when you stop trying’, or ‘looking for it’, or ‘when you’re least expecting it’? I bet lots. And lots. AND LOTS. This is all contributing to the magical thinking epidemic. I have almost simultaneously been told this exact thing and also to put positive thoughts out there and it will happen. So which is it?? Do I put the thoughts out or do I stop trying?? Do I go about my life and try to forget about it and it will come, or do I put it on my vision board?? (DISCLAIMER: I do NOT have a vision board).  The part of my brain that has some level of logic knows that neither is true. I should continue to do everything in my power (have, above mentioned, unprotected sex at above mentioned times; stay as healthy as I can be) and the rest is out of my control. Logical brain doesn’t tend to help illogical brain too much, though. You’d think they would work together, but alas, they do not.

Okay, I thought this entry was done, but then I just had the thought, “I think maybe I’m pregnant” which was immediately followed by crippling fear that if I was, I have undoubtedly just ruined it. So, now you know the depths of my issues with magical thinking. And let’s be honest, mine is a black magic.

4,253 Replies to “On Magical Thinking”

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