This blog post is a continuation from part one. To read part one of this series, click here.
Positive Thinking Is Not Natural
I used to be a huge fan of the positive thinking movement until I realized that positive thinking is not natural. It takes a lot of hard work to stay positive. It is exhausting. Have you ever asked yourself why there are so many people suffering with stress and anxiety today even though the positive thinking movement has been in existence for decades? How many books have you read on positive thinking techniques so far, and how is that working out for you? The most natural state of mind is awareness. Thoughts are not yours – they are just there, and they come and go. Your job is to allow them to be there without identifying or agreeing with them.
Positive Thoughts Can Never Exist Without Negative Thoughts
When you see positive thoughts appear in your mind, it just means that negative thoughts are just around the corner. There is no running away from negative thoughts. It is the dual nature of the mind. Thoughts are inherently neutral, devoid of any power to affect you. You are the one who gives them meaning. But when you are in a state of awareness there is no meaning given to thoughts, thoughts are just seen for what they are – harmless thoughts.
Positive Thinking Can Never Eliminate Negative Thoughts
The whole positive thinking movement is based on the idea that negative thoughts are bad and that we should try to squash them by thinking positively. This philosophy is not only incorrect, but dangerous. Negative thoughts have no power to harm you or anyone. Any harm these thoughts bring comes from claiming them as yours. When you apply positive thinking techniques as a way of eliminating negative thoughts, you are at the same time reinforcing the negative thoughts that you are trying to run from. Both positive thoughts and negative thoughts are not yours. They are just thoughts. Leave them alone and they will do you no harm.
Instead of suppressing negative thoughts, allow these thoughts into your awareness. Let them do whatever little acrobatic act they need to do, and as soon as they are done, they will pack up and leave. It’s a very smooth and clean way of living life. It doesn’t require too much work to accomplish.
Positive Thinking Does Not Change Circumstances, Learning and Growth Does
People try to use positive thinking techniques to escape the learning and growth opportunities that are in front of them. They assume that whatever is happening in their lives shouldn’t be happening and they try to positively think themselves out of whatever situation they are in. But there is no escaping learning and growth. Whatever is happening in your life should be happening. You are always at the right place at the right time.
Everything that is happening in your life has meaning and value. Instead of trying to use positive thinking to escape the lessons of life, you should actively embrace every challenge and ask yourself, “What can I learn from this experience?” You can close your eyes so that you can’t see what’s happening in front of you, but it does not mean that it will stop happening. We all have hopes, expectations and conditional desires that society has built into us. And we try to use positive thinking to arrive at these hopes and desires. Positive thinking cannot take you anywhere. Only learning and growth can take you somewhere. Stop trying to think positive. Start living your life.
About Tawanda Chirenda
Tawanda Chirenda is an anxiety-transformation and resilience-building coach, speaker and founder of The Willing Student Method, a program that helps individuals overcome anxiety, build resilience and live a happier, more purpose-filled life as a result. Although Tawanda is now a resilience-building coach, he came to it the long, hard way, through many years of struggling with anxiety, failure, and helplessness. At the age of 25, Tawanda was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder that drastically affected his normal functioning and everyday life. Through a willingness to learn, grow and change, Tawanda was able to successfully recover from this condition and regain his healthy and productive life. Tawanda has been fully recovered for more than 7 years now and he is a much stronger person than before. You can connect with Tawanda on Twitter and Facebook or visit his website, www.thewillingstudent.com, to learn more about his work.