Are you trying to be positive but somehow all your attempts at being positive are not working? Did you think that if you tried to be positive everything would somehow miraculously change for the better?
I think that positive thinking is definitely overrated. Positive thinking alone will not help you, it is not a panacea for all your problems and yet it can be a useful tool when the time is right.
Are you in a bad space at the moment? Life has a habit of handing out down times as well as up times. And at the moment you are probably in a down time. And so the truth is, that things are not positive for you. And trying to pretend they are is just a lie. No wonder positive thinking won’t work for you.
Positive thinking is a bit like putting on lipstick or cologne, it’s great until it wears off. On its own positive thinking is next to useless.
When a friend of mine lost her husband, some years ago, the question was asked ‘How is she coping?’ Another friend said, she is coping really well, I have not seen her cry once. She is being really positive and moving on with her life.
On the surface my grieving friend was living a lie of positivity. She was behaving how she thought all her friends would want her to behave, smiling and being positive. She wanted to save them from knowing the real pain and grief of losing her partner of some 40 years. She could not be real and cry. Trying to be positive was not congruent to the way she was really feeling and consequently her positive attitude hindered her grieving process. It was some years later that she was forced to see a grief counsellor because the build up of pain inside was an impossible burden to bear.
I feel disheartened when I see ‘pop psychology’ flippantly posted on blogs as if positive affirmations and smiling will work miracles. It will not.
In order for positive thinking to have a chance of success, the timing has to be right.
If you are depressed, anxious or grieving about an important issue in your life, it is important you seek help from a therapist first. Or if you do not want to talk to a therapist, talk about your pain with your doctor or a friend. But I would urge you to speak to a therapist because usually they are the most qualified in helping you come to a better place and give you some hope. Hope is a key element in helping you become more positive, but you cannot always feel hopeful when you are trying to cope with negative life issues on your own.
Positive thinking and working towards new goals will only work when you are not in a state of inner conflict.
Your mind tells you that you can do this but your feelings tell you otherwise. It is important to be aware of your feelings and ask yourself ‘Are my feelings congruent with my goals?’
Your intellectualising and your feelings must be in harmony with each other in order for the ‘positive thinking’ strategy to stand a chance of success.