The power of positive thinking has been the topic of many books, lectures, blogs, websites and whatever else means people use to convey a message. I’ve been thinking about why there is such a need to be told (or at least reminded) that our thoughts have so much impact on us and those around us.
I had a job a couple of years back that I truly hated with everything in me and I tried to think positively about it. No amount of positive thinking was changing the fact that I dreaded getting up in the morning and wished I could wake up with some horrific disease that would land me in the hospital and no, that’s not at all exaggerated. Positive thinking wasn’t doing much for me. The further removed I am from that job, the more I realize that I should have listened to the little voice inside of me yelling that I wasn’t in that line of work for a reason.
I think in life there are just some situations that require a different type of positive thinking. We’ve all been conditioned to believe that we should just be happy in situations or circumstances that we hate simply because “it could be worse”. Sure it could always be worse however, worse for me is not the same as worse for Bill Gates. By that same scale, worse for me is not the same as worse for a hungry kid in a third-world country. The truth is sometimes things just suck.
So why do we need to be reminded to be happy or to make healthy choices and to let go of negative things? Why do many of us allow all the negatives to overpower what we know is true. I know I’m not alone with my internal conversations of trying to convince myself that I’m okay or that I’m making a wise decision that’s really not based on some silly girl emotion. Drug companies and therapists and self-help gurus have an endless supply of people paying for happiness and yet we still need constant reminding. I’m not discounting drugs or therapy at all, just pondering why we aren’t just able to break through whatever is holding us back.
Sometimes we just get too focused on the things that cause us grief that we forget to focus on the things that encourage us or make us feel like we are making some kind of difference in the world. Sometimes we still need to find those things but we’re too caught up in right now. I’m going to try an experiment for the next week and keep track of every time I catch myself thinking negatively. Of course I’m going to counter that with something positive and I’m going to see if I need as much reminding at the end of the week as I do at the beginning. I don’t expect that I will and my focus isn’t really will it make a difference but how quickly will the positive be stronger than the negative.