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What is a False Positive, and a False Negative

False-negative, and false-positive - this has got to be the most confusing concept for people on the path of personal or spiritual development, and I hope to throw light into this.

The confusion comes in because most people do not yet understand the difference between an observation and a judgment. It is funny when this happens, and even loved ones with their accusations say to me: why is it when you say something it is an observation but when I say something it is a judgment. This is where tempting as it may be to roll my eyes in JUDGMENT at them I have to resist!

So WHAT IS the difference between an observation and a judgment? And why do people get confused about this?

Let me give you a simple example: So let's call person A who has a bad temper, Tom. Now Tom's temper is so quick and bad that he loses friends, business contacts and makes himself unlikable that most people have no patience to deal with this tantrums.

So in this situation, it is not that I FEEL or I THINK that Tom is bad-tempered. He is bad-tempered. This is a fact and reality.

Now, a false positive person may say to me I am being judgmental. Let's call this false positive person, Ted. Ted will accuse me of judging Tom for being bad-tempered because Ted thinks that anything in the world that is negative in this case "bad-temper" is a judgment by the observer, and the observer is accused of being negative. And in this case, the observer who is me becomes a false negative.

The thing is the observer is only an observer who is not making a judgment call. But Ted who is unconsciously afraid of anything negative feels a need to colour the observation, even though Tom is really bad-tempered, Ted feels a need to say: Oh I feel/think Tom is not that bad.

This colours the perspective of Ted, and can inevitably cause Ted to spend more time than necessary with Tom and in the end, get burned out or drained by Tom because of Tom's bad temper.

Ted, has not learned how to differentiate between a judgment and an observation and may even feel bad making observations of other's people negative behaviour. Because Ted believes that in order to be a positive person, he cannot see anything negative in others and in the world.

This type of psychology is naive and dangerous. Because the reality is that, there are people who are negative in their behaviour and no matter how much we colour our perspective to a positive one, it does not change the fact that they do have negative behaviours.

Let me give you another example: Amy observes that there is a potentially volatile situation brewing in the workspace, and she creates a battleplan to prevent/firefight the volatile situation should it get out of control. Her colleague who is a false positive, let's call her Emily, says that Amy is manifesting the negative situation by creating this battleplan!

So should Amy have created this battleplan?

If Amy's intention is for a positive outcome, then yes she should create a battleplan to firefight since she has observed that it is potentially volatile.

Emily who is afraid of what might happen because she was swayed by emotions and perhaps negative thoughts about the situation, wants things to turn out positive then portrays a false positive stand as a defence mechanism. But she is afraid to deal with the situation and this is why she has no intentions to look deeper into it, thereby accusing Amy manifesting it with her battleplans!

In this scenario, an unaware person could perceive Amy as a negative person while Emily a positive one, when the exact opposite is true.

Does Emily or Amy sound familiar to you? These are characters you may have found yourself playing in your own mind in similar kinds of situations whether in the workplace or in your personal relationships with others.

If you have found yourself being the false positive, there is a very high chance that you have accused someone of being negative. But that's a false negative, they are not really negative, and in fact, they may merely have been observing and not making a judgment call.

The difference between an observation and a judgment is this: An observation is seeing things as they are without your personal feelings, and thinking to colour the situation, which means your own opinions are not part of the observation.

Whereas when a person is judging, their own feelings/thoughts and past experiences are colouring the situation. Can you see why and how most people in the world are so confused by what we see, and how we interact with the world? And we make major life decisions based on this confusion!

I find it disturbing when people tell me that they have made a major life decision after thinking for a LONG time as if it automatically meant that it is the right decision. To me, without clarity, taking a long time to make a decision, only meant that it was filled with even more confusion.

So friends, remember, it is not healthy to be a false positive because it is an attempt to hide what is true but ugly which is needed to be acknowledged. Learn to observe instead of to judge and you will have greater clarity in all that you do.

©2020 Shamala Tan

Let me know how I can assist you if you have any questions [email protected]
Shamala Tan is an author, spiritual entrepreneur and healer. Her work focuses on transforming the lives of others on the spiritual, emotional, mental and earthly level.

One of her success stories as an author is to being featured alongside New York’s bestsellers Sonia Choquette, Robert Allen, Arielle Ford, Marci Shimoff as well as Christine Kloser in the book Pebbles In The Pond.

Shamala’s clients include small business owners, holistic practitioners as well as those seeking to find more significant meaning and value in life. Shamala offers laser coaching to her clients on a one-to-one basis or in a group environment, offline as well as online.


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