Positive thinking, as I see it, is the function of actively seeking, noticing and appreciating the positive aspects of life rather than the negative. It can be extremely helpful in recalibrating a mind which is used to filtering out positives and wearing the old ‘everything is shit’ glasses. I, myself have used the same techniques and steps that I use with clients to action this thought reprogramming and know the life-changing benefits of choosing positive thoughts.
It seems, however, that a positive thinking culture has developed which seems to place positivity above all, even self-care. “What?!” I hear you scream. “Aren’t they the same thing?!” and the simple answer is – no. Positive thinking is a hugely transformative tool when used correctly, but you have to remember that nobody is ALWAYS positive. The ups and downs of life are all part and parcel of the human experience and to deny the existence of our lows completely is to avoid and ignore things which we may need to address, which will only cause more pain in the long run.
The aim isn’t to be positive ALL the time, that would be bizarre and you might be mistaken for a creepy robot. The aim is to learn to reprogramme negative thoughts, but still allow yourself to feel sad or have a cry when you need to, but without allowing negative thoughts to become ingrained beliefs. You can have an emotional cleanse without making it mean something negative about you. It is okay to feel sad, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed or that you’re regressing or letting yourself down. Much the opposite, having that (emotional) regeneration whilst managing your mind and knowing that’s all it is, shows mastery of thoughts and a high level of self-care and emotional intelligence.
Even if you have a day where your mind is unmanaged and you have unhelpful thoughts galore – THAT’S OKAY – it doesn’t mean you’re a negative person, you haven’t let yourself down – progression is not linear. It’s totally natural to feel like you’re going backwards sometimes but I promise you you’re not. The fact that you’re here reading this means you’re putting in the effort to become the master of your thoughts and to make your mind the healthiest and happiest it can be.
To use Tony Robbins’ analogy, there’s no use in going to the garden and chanting ‘there’s no weeds, there’s no weeds’: you need to find the weeds and rip them out. Where there are weeds which we cannot move, we learn to accept them and work on the way we choose to perceive them. Again, it’s okay to cry about the weeds, but don’t let your mind turn them into a forest. See them as what they are and what they are ONLY. It’s totally okay and healthy to visit your sadness sometimes - just don’t unpack and live there.