Are you confusing positive thinking with positive “avoiding”?

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 be confused with “positive” avoidance?  

Sometimes, it is just “easier” to think positive when we really don’t want to look at an issue.  Whether it be anger, shame, or grief that we are feeling, when we tell ourselves to just “think positive”, it could be that we are wanting to avoid, or bypass, looking at a part of ourselves that needs healing.  

In a sense, we could be denying the truth of a situation.  We are denying our experience, and our feelings about it.  And that doesn’t feel good does it? Even if you positively think the heck out of it….right? It doesn’t actually work.

If we ignore a wound and take meds to mask the pain, the wound is still there and most likely getting worse.  At some point, you have to look at the wound, clean it out, and treat it so it can heal. Then you move on and forget it.

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. Living in a dream world is not going to change anything. 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 anchor in your new outlook.

How to recognize denial or 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, felt 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”.

The thoughts won’t change until the emotion is cleared and the belief is changed.  All the affirmations and positive mantras in the world won’t resolve the issue because the source is the belief.  

Changing the beliefs and feeling then releasing the emotions will change the thoughts.  Use positive thinking and affirmations to anchor in the new belief. 

If we choose to see that everything serves us, we can welcome the pain or struggle and embrace the lesson within it. 

It is not that we want to get stuck and wallow in the 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 here is to fully acknowledge our truth, even when it feels dark, to see the opportunity. Then we can do the work to face it, feel it to heal it, and move beyond it.  

When we face our wounds head on, and see the something negative or “ugly” through, we grow.  Our lives can improve as a result of what we learned through the experience.

If we chose to avoid, and try to positively think the issue away, we waste our vital energy in the process.  We don’t get anywhere by doing that. Because it won’t go away. It will always be there, as a thorn in our side. 

When we embrace the thorn, we embrace all of ourselves.  With that acceptance, we can heal and step closer into the life we dream of, our wholeness.  Seeing the value of all challenges brings us closer to peace and joy. 

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