When thinking positive means plastering on a forced smile and latching onto one specific result that we’ve decided is more favorable than another one, that you think will bring happiness, we are only setting ourselves up for disappointment and unhappiness. Thinking positive in this way is really forming expectations and attachments to outcomes and almost always is a negative.
It’s like wishing that leprechauns will magically intervene to make sure everything turns out as we want while unicorns frolic in the flower-filled meadow under a rainbow. ‘Aint gonna happen. Then, when things don’t go as hoped, how can we help but be mad and sad?
This kind of positive thinking puts pressure on a person to control or manipulate events to try to make them go a certain way, which is frustratingly impossible and a sure prescription for anxiety and worry.
There's A Better Way
When any situation presents itself, I consider the possible probable outcomes, both desirable and those which may seem less-than-perfect, and stay open to and attempt to find the positive in each of them. There is always some good if you look for it. In my own life, I’ve witnessed time and time again where something, which initially looked like an “oh crap!”, turned out to be awesome and even better than what I’d hoped for.
I don’t pretend to begin to know what is “best”in any situation anymore. “Best” is something I make out of what happens. It’s up to me. I can make any circumstance good or bad with my thinking about it and my response to it. My experience and the ultimate impact of any happening in my life is determined by my thoughts about and response to the situation.
When I open up my thinking, consider the possible benefits of an event, and ask myself “How do I make this work for me?” , the positive possibilities become endless. Next, I can move forward taking mindful steps, being receptive to unforeseen paths and choices that may present themselves as events unfold, while having faith in myself and the universe.
Then, I think positive and take positive actions.
No matter what presents itself, I’m positive about my ability to handle and work with whatever comes my way and make something good of it. I’m positive that whatever happens is going to turn out OK in the end (because OK is in y thoughts) and that I can learn from it. Then and only then is being positive, having confidence and trust in yourself and whatever higher power you believe in, always a positive.
I saw an image saying “Positive thoughts are not enough. You have to have positive feelings and actions.” Now, that one didn’t make me cringe!
Debbie Hampton recovered from decades of unhealthy thinking and depression, a suicide attempt, and resulting brain injury to become an inspirational and educational writer on brain, emotional, and mental health. On her website, The Best Brain Possible, Debbie shares how she rebuilt her brain and life to find joy and thrive. She wants you to know that you can do it too! You can quickly learn the steps to a better you in her book Beat Depression And Anxiety By Changing Your Brain with simple practices easy to implement in your daily life. Improve your brain, improve your life.
Get daily inspiration and information by joining Debbie on Facebook. Connect with Debbie on Twitter: @dlhampton
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