Is positive thinking the answer to everything? Can one truly create the life of their dreams by simply thinking positive thoughts?
You may have heard…
- You are your thoughts.
- You create more of what you think about.
- What you focus on, expands.
This may all be true. However, can positive thinking sometimes be confused with “positive” avoidance?
Sometimes, it is just “easier” to think positive when you really don’t want to look at an issue. Whether it be anger, shame, or grief that you are feeling, when you tell yourself to just “think positive”, it could be that you are wanting to avoid, or bypass, looking at a part of yourself that needs attention and love.
You could be denying the truth of a situation. You may be denying your experience, and your feelings about it. And that doesn’t feel good does it? Even if you positively think the heck out of it, it doesn’t serve you to avoid what is there.
If you keep piling more and more Band-Aids over a wound, the wound is still there. At some point, you have to look at the wound, clean it out, and treat it. Then you can move on.
Let’s take a closer look at this distinction:
- Is the act of thinking good or affirmative thoughts.
- Is looking on the favorable side of events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome.
- Is based on the idea that thinking good thoughts = good things happen, or you create your life with your thoughts.
- A defense mechanism used to avoid the existence of the problem or reality.
- Putting your head in the sand when there is a problem.
- Being unwilling to face the truth about our feelings and reality.
- An unwillingness to look at something dark and/or painful.
- Pretending to think one thing, while you’re actually thinking another.
- Covering up unpleasant feelings.
- Trying to make an unfortunate situation go away by pretending it isn’t there.
So, the question at hand is: How can you apply positive thinking without positively avoiding?
You can shift your perspective. You can be willing to face what you are avoiding, and see it through a new lens. This is a lens in which you see that everything serves you. Your life experiences are happening for you, not to you. You are willing to take responsibility for your part in creating your life experiences. You relate to it as if you chose it. By creating this perspective, you can welcome the pain or struggle and embrace the lesson within it.
The point here is not to get stuck and wallow in negativity and self-pity. That is something different and is not useful. Playing victim or being attached to a story is a self-defeating and self-destructive pattern.
The goal is to fully acknowledge your truth, even when it feels dark, to see the opportunity. Then you can do the work to heal it, and move on with new wisdom.
When you face your wounds head on, and see the something negative or “ugly” through, you grow. Your life can improve as a result of what you learned through the experience.
If you chose to avoid, and try to positively think the issue away, you waste your vital energy. You don’t get anywhere by doing that. Because it won’t go away. It will always be there, like a thorn in your side.
When you welcome the truth, you embrace all of your experience. With that acceptance, you can heal and step closer into an authentic life. Seeing the value of all challenges brings you closer to peace and wholeness.
When to use positive thinking…
- To shift your perspective on a situation, to change the filter in which you view your life experience. You are not ignoring the truth of the experience or your feelings about it. You are seeing the challenge as an opportunity that is serving you.
- Positive thinking is when you don’t allow negative thinking to take over. Or you catch yourself in the act, and shift your lens. You need to face reality and honor your truth, but keep a positive, optimistic outlook on your life.
- After you have worked through and cleared something dark or painful (an experience or belief), practice positive thinking to create a new possibility for yourself and your life.
How to recognize avoidance…
- When the same issue keeps showing up despite your practice of positive thinking, affirmations, and/or positive mantras, you may be in avoidance. It keeps showing up because it wants to be acknowledged, healed, and let go of.
- If you have to post and plaster certain affirmations all over your home, car, at work, etc. there may be deeper work to do to heal the issue.
- If you are always forcing yourself to “put on a happy face”. What comes out of your mouth is positive and optimistic, yet your inner dialogue is full of yeah-but’s.
- When the law of attraction is not working for you.
You can live your whole life avoiding that painful thorn in your side, or you can have the courage to go within, bring in the loving, and do the work to take the thorn out.
What are you discovering for yourself in this conversation? I would looove to hear. Share with me by emailing email@example.com