Why Positive Thinking Doesn’t Work
“I try to think positively…I try to say my affirmations, but I still feel bad about myself.”
Have you heard these statements before? Positive thinking has been part of mainstream pop-psychology for a few decades now and I’m kinda done with it. Here’s why: THEY DON’T WORK. At least not before you address your negative thinking. If you don’t address the core/cause of your self-deprecating talk & beliefs, positive affirmations are like a band-aid stuck on a broken bone. Not effective and you still have the broken bone.
I’m not a fan of negative thinking either. Whatever we focus on, we will attract. If you believe yourself to be unworthy of a great relationship then you probably won’t experience a great relationship. If you believe your life is set on a rigid path of disappointments & failures, then that’s probably what you’ll get from life. If you focus on all the cracks down a sidewalk, then you will miss the beautiful trees and gardens along the sidewalk. However, if you only focus on the trees and gardens and pretend the cracks in the sidewalk don’t exist, then you’ll trip and fall. Same goes for negative vs. positive thinking. If you deny that there are negative beliefs living within the caverns of your mind and try to only focus on the positive affirmations, you will trip and fall and your confidence will be shattered.
It all comes back to balance. The yin and yang of life. When you start to think positively about something or someone and you hear that inner critical voice whisper back “who do you think you are? …you’re not that special… she will eventually leave you because you’re just not good enough for her,” put down the positive affirmations and just take notice of what’s happening inside you…the negative thoughts, the tension in your body, the sadness/anger/resentment/anxiety that ensues….those need your attention right now. Welcome them in as you would a wounded child or animal. If a child came up to you with a bloody knee, would you just give her a stack of positive affirmations to help her heel her knee? Probably not. How ridiculous would that be? You would look at her wound and attempt to help her heal it with compassionate, nonjudgmental attention and maybe you’d say something like this: “Oh, I’m so sorry that happened to you…it looks like it hurts. Would you like me to help you take care of it? Do you need a hug?”
This is what your soul needs from you.
It needs you to look at and address the pain before it’s ready (or willing) to accept any positive affirmations because that’s where the negative thinking is coming from…from your pain. And if you get angry at the pain for continuing to hang around, then you will definitely not heal from it. If you became angry at the little girl with the bloody knee, blaming her for her wound, how do you think she would feel? Do you think she’d be able to positively think herself out from feeling the deeper pain that came with your judgment and blame? Most likely not. I don’t care how old your pain is….maybe it goes all the way back to childhood (most deep emotional wounds do)….it will only subside when you address it with compassion and dare I say…love. If love is too strong, then start with a little compassion.
Once your wounds get addressed with compassion and love, the negative thinking will start to subside. This would be the time to bring in those positive affirmations: Yes, I do deserve a loving, respectful relationship. Yes, I deserve that promotion at work because I am capable. Yes, I have my wounds…but they do not define me, they are not my story anymore because …. I am still creating my story.