When positive thinking isn’t possible

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Is it ok to have a bad day when you’re trying to be positive? You may be reading this as someone who is completely new to the idea that how you think and feel creates your life experience, or you may be someone who has been familiar with this idea for quite a while now. You might even have been putting it into practice, perhaps inspired by books such as “The Secret”, and you’ve been trying in earnest to think more positively and draw to you the things you most want in life. Maybe you’ve been doing pretty well, you’ve been feeling better, started to see some benefits from this positive thinking malarkey and then wham! Here comes a negative thought, maybe a slew of negative thoughts. Perhaps you’ve got pissed off at someone, someone could’ve been rude to you at the store, cut you up in traffic – maybe your partner/child/parent/friend/stranger just annoyed you or even hurt your feelings. And out through the window goes all your effort at trying to think and feel more positively. And you feel like shit. Not only do you feel like shit because of whatever happened to make you feel negative, but now you feel extra shitty because on top of that, you feel like a failure at positive thinking.
“I can’t do this!” You exclaim to yourself. “It’s useless, I’ll never get control of the way I think and feel, my life is never going to work out the way I want it to!” It’s never going to happen, you’re forever doomed to be at the mercy of the events of life and the fluctuating behaviour of people around and it’s all your fault. Your fault, because you can’t think positively all the time. Your fault because you can’t be like all those new age folks who write the books, make the videos, host the seminars, those folks who always appear so god damned positive, shiny and happy with their perfect lives. And they make you feel bad – of course they don’t want to, they want to uplift you, help you make positive changes – but as you undoubtedly compare yourself to them and fall far short of their ‘perfect’ attitude and life, as you compare yourself to others around you who seemingly have it all worked out, you end up feeling worse about yourself than when you started all of this positive mental attitude stuff in the first place.
So what can you do? Give up? Throw in the towel? Well actually, yes you can, you can give up. Temporarily at least. You can give yourself a break and acknowledge that it is ok to be human, it’s ok to not be perfect, it’s ok to not always be succeeeding. In fact, it’s a natural consequence of life; you can’t always be succeeding at everything, neither should we strive for it. Sometimes, we need to fail – or perceive that we are failing when in truth, we never really do fail.

Every failure is a success

Every Failure is a success. Sit with that a moment. Read it back to yourself. Perhaps say it out loud. How does it make you feel? Does it take some pressure off? To know that when you’re failing you’re still being successful? To know that actually, you can’t get it so fundamentally wrong that you will never recover. Yep, I can hear you right now – you might be saying “no way, it’s totally possible to fail! I’ve failed at this and that, and I certainly never recovered from that other mess that happened!” And yes, you may have a point. But what was the worst that happened? Are you still here? Are you able to read these words? I guess you are, which means you survived. You are still able to take control of your life, by taking stock of where you’ve been and where you are now.It is necessary to fail sometimes, it’s necessary to experience that which we don’t want in order to clarify what we do want. We need to experience opposites, without opposites we can’t exist – without darkness there would be no light, it would cease to exist, we couldn’t experience it. It’s the same with everything in life, heat and cold, wet and dry, abundance and lack and so on. One way to deal with with apparent set-backs is to re-frame them in our minds. If we can see them as necessary experiences to help us clarify what we want and achieve more future moments of experiencing what we prefer, that it’s a good thing to take a step back (or ten) back every now and then – like a catapult, the further the you pull it back, the more momentum it has when you let it go and it can shoot further. That’s the same with life, sometimes we need to be pulled back so that we can travel further forward. So perhaps instead of berating ourselves, or feeling even worse when we’re having a bad day/dealing with a less than perfect situation/going through some unwanted stuff, how about just saying, “hey, this is ok. It’s all part of life. What I’m going through now is perfectly normal, it’s a part of being human and everyone goes through times like this. Just for today I’m going to be where I am, I am where I am and it’s all ok. 

With love –

Jonathan