Thursday, March 8, 2018

Charlotte Brontë on Positive Thinking

I had written earlier here today about how positive thinking can feel obliterating ["downplaying one's own suffering can lead to appearing (or being) dismissive of others'"].
Along similar lines is being told to cheer up when you're depressed.

I just now read a quote from Charlotte Brontë on the subject in a modern obituary of the author, one of the New York Times' "Overlooked No More" feature: obituaries for 15 remarkable women whose deaths the Times did not note when they happened.
A miniaturist of the soul, Brontë captured shades of emotion with a psychological subtlety that still feels exquisitely modern. When Lucy Snowe [in the novel Villette], battling depression, is advised to cultivate her own happiness, her strong response will feel familiar to many a 21st-century person who has the condition: 
“No mockery in this world ever sounds to me so hollow as that of being told to cultivate happiness,” she wrote. “Happiness is not a potato to be planted in mould and tilled with manure.”


Bink said...

Great quote!

Fresca said...

Heh. Glad you like it too.