Does Positive Thinking Really Work?
Through my practice, I often come across confusion that people experience around the concept of positive thinking, so I want to share some thoughts with you.
You hear it all the time. “Just think positively.” There are countless books and trainings out there preaching the importance and benefits of positive thinking. And it’s true, there are many benefits to positive thinking. If you have practiced this art, you likely have experienced some wonderful shifts in your life.
But there is a downside.
Many often mistake this practice to mean that you should not feel ‘negative’ emotions, or use it as a ‘spiritual bypass’ to avoid dealing with difficult situations and circumstances in your life. We misinterpret it to mean that you should not look at the ‘bad’ things that are happening.
The problem with this is that you then start to negate the reality of your experiences. You suppress your emotional response to those experiences. Therefore thinking, “If I feel anger (frustration, sorrow, grief, etc.) , I am not thinking positive and therefore creating more problems for myself.”
You suppress those emotions and perhaps even tell yourself ‘positive affirmations’ that are in direct opposition to the situation and emotions you are feeling, causing imbalance in your body and energy field.
By NOT allowing those emotions and acknowledging the situation, you create even more difficulty for yourself.
So what do you do?
Your emotions are a natural response to life circumstances. They need to be felt and acknowledged. Allow them to move through you. Stay present with them (as best you can). Support yourself as you would support a loved one who was hurting or struggling. Take action where needed.
The art of positive thinking teaches us to pay attention to our thought patterns. Those that get us into a downward spiral of doom and gloom are certainly problematic. It is important to train your brain to create more positive and uplifting patterns of thought.
It does not, however, mean that you should not look at those situations and emotions that need your attention. Acknowledge them, be present with them, deal with them, and move forward. Just don’t get stuck in them.