Positive thinking, when it avoids reality and truth, does not work. It becomes fantasy and hope and, eventually, leads to disappointment and despair. But positive thinking that starts with acceptance of life as it is and circumstances as they are happening is very powerful.
I used to spend a lot of time trying to be very discerning about who did what to whom, what role I had played in the way that things were going, and trying to figure out what “I” could do about what was happening so that I would have the best outcome.
Sometimes I prevailed, but always with a cost. I had to stay fixed in my views and control what could happen next. I thought I was being positive, because I was hoping that working on the situation persistently would lead to resolution.
I did this for several years in an unhealthy business partnership, avoiding its inevitable demise. I kept telling myself that it was important to continue because, after all, it was my livelihood and my way of contributing. I had to justify abuse and misuse as part of the package, and this was very costly to me, in terms of my confidence and ability to stand on my own and trust my intuition.
Finally, I dismissed the hope and accepted what was happening. Along with the hope, I dismissed all negativity. I gave up the “this should not be this way” and instead applied positive thinking to the opportunity in front of me. I went back to school, achieved a Masters and a Doctor of Ministry degree. Now I have a spiritual life coaching practice of my own, supporting others to turn their inspirations into real accomplishments, and I am the interfaith chaplain at a local college, contributing a spiritual outlook to students.
The following steps can help when a challenging situation occurs:
- Stop, take a breath, and discern: “What is the situation? What is happening?”
- Let go of the negativity, the blame, the shame, the “shoulds,” the regrets and resents and the fear. Don’t process or try to fix it. Forgive it and let it go.
- Welcome the challenge. Give thanks for the chance to take on something new. Accept the circumstances as they are as the perfect opportunity for you.
- Be positive. Practice speaking affirmations. Appreciate the strengths that you have. Take steps in a positive direction, because even small steps add up.
- When negativity creeps in, begin step one again.
This practice will keep presenting you with occasions for healing, for accomplishment, and for developing trust of your intuition. You may be surprised where this practice takes you. You may find, as I did, that you wanted something much different than what you were initially trying to accomplish, and that has been a bonus.
I am on the path of my choice and I am positive, not as an avoidance of reality but as an embrace of reality. Positive thinking can be a path to real healing and can really work!