Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Backpeddling

I wondered when this would come back to bite her in the ass. Oprah, I mean.

She's been strongly endorsing The Secret for months now, promoting the book, the movie and the feel-good-positive-thinkingness of the program on her show.

So much so that recently a woman wrote in to tell her that because of Oprah and The Secret, she was opting not to have a partial mastectomy because she believed she could heal herself.

HEAL HERSELF.

Oprah just had the woman as a guest on her show to try to convince her to have the surgery (it appears she still plans to "think" her tumor away, by the way). In a stunning but life-threateningly necessary display of backpedding, Oprah had this to say about her understanding of how positive thinking can impact one's life:

"What I believe about the law of attraction, I want to clarify it," Oprah says. "I want to say it's a tool. It is not the answer to everything. It is not the answer to atrocities or every tragedy. It is just one law. Not the only law. And certainly, certainly, certainly not a get-rich-quick scheme. The law of attraction is a tool that can help you decide what you want your life to be, and then begin to help you focus on making the best choices through action to create that life."

So why didn't she just say this right from the start? Why fully endorse a belief when you either don't fully understand it or accept it? Why, why, WHY? Especially when you're such a powerful role model with such a huge, miracle-hungry audience?

I've kept my mouth shut on this subject for a long time. I'm very much a "to each his own" kind of girl and I don't like it when people mess with my belief system without invitation, so I haven't wanted to do it to anyone else's. But thank GOD Oprah had the presence of mind to offer some clarification and tone down her cheerleading.

I believe positive thinking is important. I believe it can help you achieve goals by putting you in the right frame of mind to work hard for what you want in life and to accept opportunities that come your way. I believe positive thinking is the reason I'm having surgery tomorrow, and I believe it's the reason I haven't lost my mind altogether these past two years.

But I don't believe it can heal me. I need the surgery for that. I can't sit on my couch and will away adhesions and scar tissue (if that is, in fact, what's going on in there).

And, while I'm at it, I also don't believe that being scared out of my mind while I was pregnant with Thomas because I'd already lost two babies before him was the reason that he died. I don't think I negative-energied my son to death. Nor do I think I'm preventing a future pregnancy by not being 100% positive that I will conceive again.

When you've held your dying child in your arms it's a little hard to be 100% positive about anything anymore.

I love the idea of self-empowerment and I'm all for anything that encourages people to have hope and to have the courage to fight for their dreams.

But I just don't believe in magic. And I'm glad Oprah has clarified that she doesn't either.

22 comments:

Catherine said...

That was on yesterday here and I honestly snorted my tea through my nose when I heard that woman say she was going to heal herself. But I'm seriously having trouble finding the line between positive thinking/faith and delusion these days.

stephanie said...

Two things:

First: hear, hear! The power of positive thinking is so often used as a bludgeon to make people who are in unfortunate straits feel guilty about their situation. Yes, positive thinking can help you, in some way, get through, say, cancer. But people who die of it are not at fault because they did not think positively. Gah, drives me crazy.

Second: I will be thinking of you tomorrow...good luck, sweetie.

delphi said...

I caught the end of that broadcast... so my response to you is this: Hear, hear!! Wait, Stephanie already said that. Crap. I am never original (she pouts)...

stat763 said...

Thank you for bringing this up - this whole Secret thing has really been bothering me. It took me so long to accept the fact that my son's stillbirth was not my fault and here they come along and start blaming me.

Anyway, best wishes tomorrow. I hope the valium helps you to relax.

Rosepetal said...

Amen.

Aurelia said...

AMEN

Oprah has driven me crazy for years about this stuff.

Yes, positive thinking helped me cope with my second high risk pregnancy. The Doctors saved my son in the OR though! Postive thinking doesn't change the outcome, it just helped my thought process.

The blame aspect is the worst of all. I mean puh-leeze, do we really think that the people of Darfur are suffering because they just aren't positive thinkers? Snort!

BasilBean said...

Thank you for writing your thoughts about this. It is something that I have been wrestling with myself.

I also have some issues with prayer now, too. I prayed as hard as I could during my three days in the hospital, but my water broke and my son died anyway.

I will be thinking about you tomorrow.

BabylossDirectory said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kate said...

I will be thinking of you tomorrow...

I don't watch Oprah so i have no idea what she has been saying but what you have written makes perfect sense to me.

That was my comment above, by the way, i was logged into the wrong account by accident...

Scrappy_Lady said...

A bunch of my friends have been laughing about The Secret lately as well. So funny to see you wriring about it.

I'm hoping for a beginning of a miracle for you tomorrow!!

Anam Cara said...

I've never heard of this book before but it book sounds very dangerous to me. Thinking of you and I hoping all goes well today. (((hugs)))

Sara said...

Amen to that. I read about that book recently and it PISSED ME OFF so royally. Yes I was scared early on during my pregnancy with Natan but I'd had a missed miscarriage....I was happy and excited and hopeful as anything after 14 weeks.

And you sure as h*#@ didn't "negative energy" Thomas to death. You gave him so much love, and continue to show it. You're an inspiration.

I cannot stand how "positive thinking" misused in this way just ends up as "blame the victim" for being weak, or worse wanting it.

Take care. I'm thinking about you.
((((HUGS))))

Laura said...

I'm thinking about you today :)

((hugs))

miraclebaby said...

I've been thinking of this "secret" thing a lot. In fact, we were talking about it in bible study the other week, and how even in God's word He says to focus on things that are right and true and good. So, really I like to think of God as the secret. And not some secret to fix everything, but to get me through the crap as well as the good stuff.

Good luck with the surgery!

The Town Criers said...

I pretty much avoided the whole Secret thing because I'm always a little wary of those sorts of things--sure, positive thinking can bring you great joys--but what's the opposite? Negative thinking can bring you great pains? Sounds like she's blaming the victim. I'm all for positive thinking, but we don't always have control over our minds and emotions.

I was actually swinging by to wish you good thoughts before the lap today. Hope surgery goes smoothly and easily with a quick recovery.

Teresa said...

I didn't see the episode of "the secret", but saw the show you mentioned. My thoughts on Oprah have been mixed lately. She's too star-struck, and band-wagoned lately (if those are words).

Leap first ask questions later, then try not to look like a complete fool when it comes back to you.

Don't get me wrong, I love Oprah for the good she does and believe she has a great heart. But when the woman goes on about whatever her latest discovery or thing is, and tries to come off as an expert on so many subjects, it just gets my goat!

I too believe in the power of self-healing like that woman on the show, AND in the power of medicine, and the right to choose how you will treat your problems.

I don't believe one thing can do it all, but the better we educate ourselves on anything, the better off we all are.

Thinking of you today...

Julie said...

Thinking of you today.
(((Hugs)))

Ruby said...

Praying for you today and sending a hug.

wannabe mom said...

thinking of you today.

niobe said...

Nice to hear that Oprah has finally woken up to reality. Though, I admit, I've always found it hard to take someone seriously whose name is actually just a misspelling of Orpah. Though that's not her fault.

miraclebaby said...

I'm thinking of you...

Lori said...

I'm late to this, but I was really interested to read what you wrote. I didn't see this episode, but I would have liked to. I have been annoyed by the whole "Secret" thing ever since she had it on. And I am still fuming over the dismissive attitude toward the woman dealing with infertility awhile back (basically telling her she needed to embrace the idea of a "new dream" for herself etc..) Ugh!

Anyway- I am SOOOO glad to hear that this came back to bite her because honestly I believe this kind of thinking can be dangerous in the wrong hands (obviously!)