When thinking positive means plastering on a forced smile and latching onto one specific result that you’ve decided is more favorable than another one, that you think will bring happiness, you are only setting yourself up for disappointment and unhappiness. Thinking positive in this way is really about forming expectations and attachments to outcomes and is almost always 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 we hoped, how can we help but be mad and sad?
That 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. (See blog: Life Gets Easier By Managing Expectations and The Dark Side Of Hope)
Find the Positive in the Situation Instead of Just Thinking Positive
I’ve found 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 to be found if you look for it hard enough. (See blog: Look For The Good And You’ll Find 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 in the first place.
I don’t pretend to begin to know what is “best” anymore. “Best” is something I determine with my thoughts. It’s subjective and up to me. I can make any situation good or bad with my thinking about it while I’m it and my response to it. My experience and the ultimate impact of any event in my life is determined by my mind and my behavior and actions in the situation. (See blog: Responding Rather Than Reacting)
When I open up my thinking, consider the possible benefits of any circumstance, and ask myself “How do I make this work for me?” (See blog: One Little Question), the 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.
Positive Thinking Must Be Coupled With Positive Action
Then, I think positively and take positive actions.
No matter what’s present, 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 in my highest good 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 the other day that said “Positive thoughts are not enough. You have to have positive feelings and actions.” Now, that one didn’t make me cringe!
image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sheridan120/