What if you really don’t want to have a positive thought about something?

Hi Brooke,
I wrote earlier that I couldn’t believe that people really could act/do whatever they wanted because people do terrible things to others on purpose. I have come to the point that I can grasp that people can act/do what they want – at least in the sense that it is physically possible.

However, what if I really don’t want to change my perspective about certain things that people do? Putting a positive thought to things like animal abuse, for instance, goes against my values. I don’t want to think that such a thing is ok, much less “good.” I want to keep thinking that it is something “bad” that people shouldn’t do – knowing that animals really do suffer physically and emotionally at the hands of people and there really is nothing that they can do about it and/or to save themselves. The same thing goes for children who grow up in abusive homes, for instance.

I have to admit that over the past week or so I’ve really wanted to argue with you about this. I’ve kept thinking – “There really is true suffering and bad in this world. Some people do things that really are awful and should not be “tolerated/considered ok. Animals (and abused children for instance) don’t deserve the terrible things they are subjected to. Brooke is wrong to say that all circumstances are neutral. Animals and people do feel true physical and emotional pain that is caused by “bad”” people. It is in fact wrong to impose certain physical and emotional harm on others.”

I bring this up to you because I am truly struggling with this and am even getting teary as I write this. (I’m sensitive and get sad/overwhelmed when I think of suffering in the world.) I am the kind of person who tries to avoid conflict but this concept that all circumstances are neutral has really stirred me and I want to fight against it. Also, should we always work on changing any thought that bring about a negative emotion? Couldn’t negative thoughts and emotions warranted/ok at times? What if we don’t want to change our ‘negative’ thought for some reason – for instance if it violates our values?