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Positive Thinking and Why the Doubters Say it Doesn’t Work

Updated: Feb 18

Woman holding her arms out above her head in the sunshine with blog title.

Positive thinking is by no means a new concept, it has been around for hundreds… even thousands of years.

There are quotes on the subject from Marcus Arelius, Plato, Socrates. There are quotes from Buddha, Tzu Lao, from Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Albert Einstein. The list goes on and on and on.

The people in the list above and many, many others who have all understood the power of positive thinking are counted as some of the greatest minds to have ever graced our planet, so why are so many people still doubting whether there is any truth in it at all?

I have my theories which I will share with you today…

1. It can be difficult to master. Training yourself to think positively is harder than it sounds.

Changing your thinking pattern to a positive one takes time and it takes effort, mental effort is very taxing which is why most people just let their mind wander with previous thoughts and go over things that have happened. People start and when they don’t succeed in the first few days or weeks they give up and claim it doesn’t work. As Henry Ford once said – Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason few people engage in it.

2. It can be harder than you realise to distinguish positive from negative.

If you ask people if they are positive, most will say yes, but when you listen to what they talk about and the words they use, they are nowhere near as positive as they think they are. If you are complaining about anything, even if it’s about someone doing the wrong thing, it’s negative. People can get very defensive when they find out saying negative things in a positive way is not positive, it’s passive aggressive.

3. Taking responsibility for you own life.

This is the big one, the tough one. This is the one that really upsets people.

“What so it’s my fault is it?” “I asked for all this crap in my life did I?” etc.etc.

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: Unconsciously you did. It was probably part of your childhood programming; we are all being programmed by the people and things around us from the day we are born. That is where we get our self-worth, our self-esteem, out self-beliefs our morals etc. We took them all on as a child, and it created our life as we know it. It was all in us, we attracted the right or wrong people into our lives based on our beliefs and our thoughts. That’s what we mean by taking responsibility. It may not be what we wanted, but we had those belief and thoughts, and by accepting that, it means you can now change them into the ones that will help you get the life you want.

Until you accept that you had control you cannot take control and change it for the better.

Woman looking out the window, thinking.

The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change. – Carl Rogers

I found a book in my local library called – ‘a brief guide to self-help classics’ being a self-help writer and enthusiast I decided to take a look, he ripped into all of the books based on positive thinking, saying the writers had all blamed the people for bringing it onto themselves, making them feel bad about themselves. I feel the need to address this as - blame is very negative and serves no-one and no truly positive thinker would ever encourage anyone to pass ’blame’ to anyone, even to themselves. It is not about blame, it’s about acceptance of where you are and how you got here, because that is how you get to move on and create the life you want.

Let me ask you this… if you believe that you have no control of your life why you are trying to change it. That’s the whole point of growth and change and why self-help books are so popular because deep down we know we have the ability to change and to take control, and we can’t take control until we take responsibility.

And then there is the ones that go the other way and think that positive thinking is pretending that everything is alright all the time.

That’s toxic positivity. Not to be confused with positive thinking.

Toxic positivity is not promoted by positive thinkers, or advocates of positive thinking.

No-one ever gained anything by pretending that everything is ok when it is not. I am speaking from my own experience, I spent far too many years pretending that I was ok, that my life was ok and it took me to a very sad, lonely, depressed place. It was then I discovered Positive Thinking (and therapy) and I have never looked back.

Positive thinking is focusing on the solutions, on finding the answers, on finding the easier way of doing things, it’s being kind to everyone even those who aren’t, its spreading happiness, it’s helping others, it’s being grateful for the good in your life (even when there is bad stuff too). It’s finding the positive in situations, not ignoring the negative. It’s having to tools and strength to deal with whatever life throws at you. It’s about self-care and self-love and believing in yourself and not worrying what anyone else thinks about you. It’s about finding you and being true to you, it’s following your passion, and being the best version of you, you can be.

One of the many wonderful things about positive thinking is that you have absolutely nothing to lose if you try it. What’s the worst that can happen, you have a few good thoughts, you look at something differently, try something new…

If you want to get on board and start your positive thinking journey, you can order a copy of my book by clicking here

I Hope you enjoyed reading Positive Thinking and Why the Doubters Say it Doesn’t Work, don't forget to Save this to your Pinterest boards for later :)

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

Lisa Edwards meditating looking out to the ocean with signature.

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