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5 Reasons Why Positive Thinking May Not Be Working for You

Updated: Jul 11, 2023

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Anybody that knows me, knows that I am a huge advocate of positive thinking. It transformed my entire life. But I also know that it’s difficult to get started - hence my website name and the fact that you don’t see instant results can put people off even trying it. We live in an age where everything in instant.

We want a coffee or food – we just pull into the drive through and hey presto: coffee and food are presented to us. We want entertainment – we just put on the tv, or even pick up our phones and hey presto – instant entertainment. We want information – phones, laptops, tablets and a quick google – instant information. We don’t have to wait for anything, we don’t have to do much to get it all either, we don’t even have to go out for a take-out anymore – we can just order uber eats, our take out arrives and we haven’t even had to get up off of the sofa.

So when we start trying to make changes in our lives, try to be more positive, try to be grateful for what we have and we don’t see instant results, we get disheartened and say it’s too hard or we just stop believing that it is possible.

Like any life change, there is no short cut. If you want to lose the weight, you have to do the work. If you want to get fit, you have to do the work. If you want to learn a new skill, you have to do the work. Becoming a positive thinker, someone who has a positive outlook on life, someone who’s grateful for all they have, someone who see’s the best in everyone they meet, is no different. You have to be prepared to put in the work, to consciously make changes to your thinking, to your attitude, and your outlook, and you have to keep going until it becomes part of you, becomes second nature to you.

“But I do all that and it’s still not working!” If you’re putting in the effort, well done to you! There are several reasons it may not be having the impact you want:

Ring of flowers with quote inside.

You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy. So let them go. - C. Joybell C.

1. You have not let go of all the past negatives in your life.

Letting go of the negatives you have had in your life is a big part of changing your life. You have to make room for the positives, for them to really have an impact. Depending on what your life has been like up to now, you may have a mind filled with negative memories, undealt with stress, painful and distressing experiences, that have all lead you to where you are now. Trying to squeeze in some positivity in a mind that is overflowing with negatives, it’s going to get lost in there. Letting go of the past and painful, stressful experiences is the best way for you to be able to make room for all the positives you want to adopt.

There are lots of ways to do this, depending on what it is you have to let go of. I found the help of lots of self-help books, and I used Tapping, yoga and meditation, and I also sought the help of a good psychologist. It’s important you find one that works for you, if you go to see one and you don’t ‘click’ then find another one, someone you feel comfortable with so you can really get stuck in with getting rid of what is holding you back.

Click here for link to my book Positive Thinking for Beginners – Lisa Edwards

Just some of the Self-Help books that helped me:

You Can Heal Your Life – Louise Hay

The Tapping Solution – Nick Ortner

The Art of Happiness – His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill

How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie (anything by Dale Carnegie)

Ring of flowers with quote inside.

Positive thoughts are not enough. There have to be positive feelings and positive actions. - Unknown

2. You’re doing it on the outside but not on the inside

Saying you are changing your thinking and saying you are feeling grateful is not actually doing it. I have seen a lot of people do this. Saying it is a good place to start, but unless that eventually comes with feeling it is going to make diddly squat difference in your life.

Saying affirmations the first few times can seem just a surface thing, but eventually, if you keep saying them like you mean them you will eventually get an attachment to them, this is when the feelings and emotions come into play. When you can say something and really feel it, that’s when it gets powerful and things start to change.

It’s the same with gratitude. We all have so much to be grateful for but if we just use words alone they are empty. Words become powerful when they have feelings and emotions behind them. When you write your gratitude list out, take a few minutes to think about how grateful you really are and get that feeling of gratitude flowing through you, and see the difference it makes.

Ring of flowers with quote inside.

The no. 1 reason people fail in life is because they listen to their friends, family, and neighbours. - Napoleon Hill

3. You are listening to the naysayers

There are many, many people out there who think positive thinking is just airy-fairy. Or believe that it’s impossible to change your life and refuse to even contemplate what it means or what it can do for them.

If you’ve told your friends, your family and your colleagues that you are on your positive thinking journey, on your way to adopting a positive lifestyle and they are putting you down for it, or laughing at your attempts or even just bad mouthing positive thinking – this is going to negatively affect your mindset – 1 step forward, 2 steps back. You can’t change them, you can only change yourself. Do not let their fears and misunderstandings stop you from the fantastic journey you have started.

My solution to this is to stop sharing your plans and your ideas with them – if they are still in your life when you have made the changes they will see the difference for themselves, some will even join you.

Ring of flowers with quote inside.

Stay away from negative people - They have a problem for every solution. - Alber Einstein

4. You are surrounded by negative people

This maybe different from the above problem, there are plenty of people out there who claim to be positive, they say a lot of the right things, but watch what else they do, do they often smile? Do they complain all the time, do they talk detrimentally about others? Are they just people pleasers, saying different things to different people? Do they wallow in their misery? Do they feel the need to put others down? Do they find fault in everything and everyone? Do they let jealousy get the better of them and take down anyone who appears to be happier than they are? Misery loves company.

It doesn’t matter whether they are family, friends or work colleagues, if they are spreading their negativity, be very careful you don’t catch it, even for a brief moment. It can set you back weeks of positive thinking. Even now after years of studying, practicing and living a positive life, I was recently blindsided by someone’s sudden and extreme negativity and it really affected my whole mindset. I have had to put in the extra effort and really make a conscious decision to get myself back on track.

Ring of flowers with quote inside.

You didn't come this far to only come this far. - Unknown

5. You are just not yet noticing the small yet significant changes

Just as your attitude and mindset didn’t change overnight, you won’t see an overnight difference in your life. It takes time and the baby-steps you are taking one day at a time are showing up in small ways in your life. If you can’t yet see any real change, it maybe because you are waiting for some big – in your face – change to jump out at you.

Take a look at where you were with your life when you started, write it down, make a list. Then make a list of where you are now, compare the two lists and you will probably see the difference it has made already. This is a great exercise to do as once you start to see the difference positive thinking has already made it becomes a great motivator to keep going.

You have the power to change your life, you have the power to choose your thoughts, you have the power to become someone you are proud of, you deserve to have a life that you can look back on and say – I did good.

Drop in to my Etsy store Positive Life by Design for great printables to help you on your journey.

Lisa Edwards meditating by the ocean – with signature.

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