Positive thinking. Can you really learn it? Can I really learn it? No one can be happy all the time—that’s just not how life goes. In the face of tragic events, how does one stay positive?
Maybe my interpretation of positive thinking has been all wrong. The story I got was that no matter what, you can stay positive, and you can affect change in your life by thinking positively. Let’s take Louise Hay for example. She had a painful childhood, yet she grew up to become someone who seems to me to be an overwhelmingly optimistic, idealistic person. Same with Wayne Dyer. Did they become optimistic because they achieved success doing what they loved, or did they achieve success because they became so idealistic? They would tell you the latter—Dyer would, and does in his books, but I don’t know if I’m buying it. Maybe they were just born with an idealistic outlook, and that’s just how some people are.
For example, take this positive thinking card from Louise Hay: “I am safe in all my relationships, and I give and receive lots of love.” I did not feel this way a week ago when I read this, and therefore it seemed like a big lie to me. Today I feel it, because I’ve communicated more with my boyfriend, and we’re in a better place now. But I find it hard to believe I can just read some cards and they come true as a result. You have to take action; you can’t just live in la-la land while the world crumbles around you.
This one I like: “When I make a mistake, I realize that it is only part of the learning process.” This acknowledges that something painful happened, and yet I can learn from it. The idea is not to beat yourself up over something you’ve done. You did what you knew to do at the time, and learned from it. What happened was meant to happen so that you could learn, and now you know a healthier approach to use for next time.
Again maybe I am looking at it all wrong. I want to think more positively, and I believe I’ve been trying to do that. I’d been trying to do that just before Mom died, and then she died, and I decided screw that, because no amount of positive thinking can bring my mom back. Now I am looking at it through a new lens. It’s not about negative thinking, but about acknowledging that life happens and that means that sometimes bad stuff will happen. When that happens, you’ve just got to keep going.
What has happened so far in my life is not that bad in the grand scheme of things.The thing is, I want to hurry past the pain and get to the good part, today. I’m not yet convinced that I’ll get what I want, which is peace within myself. What I want is self-confidence in knowing I’m on the right path, and to convince you that it’s possible for you too. But there’s still doubt in my heart, that maybe this is just it, and some people get it and others don’t. Or maybe no one really gets it, and those that do are liars. I won’t give up though. I see no other option but to keep trying. My hope is that one day when my life is so much better I’ll read this post and remember how hard it was, and then you too will know I really was there before, but not anymore because now I’m stronger and wiser. And really, I am stronger and wiser today than I was even a year ago.
And I do have hope, and that’s all it takes. It takes only a glimmer of hope for positive change to take effect. Two years before I got sober, I had a glimmer of hope that I could get sober. Now I have six and a half years of sobriety, and I’ve been through some devastating times without the need of a drink to cope.
Maybe I just need to feed the good wolf some more. Sure, I have doubt. But I also have hope. Why not water the seeds of hope more, rather than feeding the doubt? What good does feeding doubt do? It just makes me feel bad.
Here’s a good one: “I think big, and then I allow myself to accept even more good from Life.” I don’t know how, when, what, or when, but my life is about to get much better. Life is already getting better. For example, I don’t want to scream at customers right now. When I go into work today, I can put myself in their shoes and remember that once upon a time I too was surprised that a specialty organic grocery store didn’t sell Advil. I too believed I could randomly pick up some supplement off the shelf and get expert medical advice on its benefits.
And life can and will have its downs too, but do I really need to focus on that? Just be in the moment.
Now, if only I knew what action to take.
Baby steps… Just remember baby steps.
Today I will get up, finish my laundry, eat a healthy breakfast, write a gratitude list, pray, meditate, and go to work with a… positive attitude. No need in raining on everyone else’s parade just because I don’t know what my long-term plans are. Be kind and helpful to people today (but be assertive and honest too! To thine own self be true.). Those are the actions to take.
My goal is to be positive, have hope, and grow stronger and wiser in this sometimes bumpy journey of life, and I wish that for you, too. ❤