The common advice is... think positive thoughts! Yay! Just... you know... stop thinking negatively!!
And how has that worked for you?
Negative thoughts are not a problem in and of themselves. In fact every thought by itself is totally powerless just like a light bulb is powerless without electricity.
What gives thoughts their power? Your focus, energy, and attention. Emotion gives your thoughts power. Belief gives your thoughts power.
It's only by believing that your negative thoughts are true or that they already have power that your belief gives those thoughts power they didn't have before.
This is why trying to avoid your negative thoughts only adds to their power. It's like fighting quicksand, you just sink deeper. Instead, if you just notice your negative thoughts dispassionately and without emotional investment then eventually they disappear on their own. Without the power of your attention to give them reality negative thoughts will naturally fade away.
So why does positive thinking so often backfire? It's because what we're actually doing is energizing our negative thoughts by making them into things to be avoided. Don't attempt to control your negative thoughts. It's like wrestling with a pig. You get dirty and the pig enjoys it. Just let the thoughts be.
Another reason why most positive thinking fails is because we often attempt to reach for thoughts that sound really good on paper but don't actually feel good to us in the moment.
This is like attempting to slam on the gas and get to 60mph while you're still in 1st gear. You're just going to wear out your engine and you won't go any faster.
We need to ease ourselves up the emotional scale one better feeling thought at a time. If we're feeling angry or frustrated, trying to think thoughts of pure appreciation and joy are going to feel like lies. We need to first acknowledge and accept our anger and then move into the fear behind the anger, sadness, understanding, hope, enthusiasm, and finally appreciation.
A genuinely good feeling thought always feels like relief compared to a thought lower on the emotional scale.
"I'm feeling disappointed that I didn't get this client. I really thought they would sign up but for some reason they didn't. I wonder if I'm really cut out for this."
"It's okay that they didn't sign up. Looking back I'm just frustrated with myself that I didn't help them come to a place of peace about the decision they were making."
"I know that I can improve my sales skills and get better at building trust with people. It's not the end of the world just because this one person didn't sign up. There's lots of people who would love to work with me."
"Now that I think about it, I'm excited about all the other people I'll get to talk to and who might become clients. It's going to be fun getting to know them and seeing if and how I can help them."
"I really appreciate that I get to make a living helping people doing what I love. I also appreciate that sometimes people are just not the right fit. I love knowing that I can continue working with dream clients as my mindset expands and I refine my strategies and skills."
Are you willing to move towards appreciation one better feeling thought at a time on a subject you would like to experience change in? I invite you to take ten minutes and go through this exercise for yourself and see how things shift for you.
Please share and I welcome any constructive comments!