How “positive thinking” can mess up your life.
I’ve been a professional Pollyanna my whole life. Which means, I am a hopeless optimist and I can positive think my way through any challenging situation.
Happiness is a choice? Give me the option — I always choose happy.
So many of us on the path to a purposeful life and spiritual practice have learned that our thoughts create our reality. Because of this, we have diligently monitored and censored our negative thoughts, emotions, and beliefs for years.
The problem is spiritual platitudes like “everything happens for a reason” and “there is always a silver lining” sometimes aren’t taking enough responsibility — the responsibility for what’s showing up in our life and more importantly the responsibility to heal.
Let me explain.
In my mid twenties I was diagnosed with a rare disease caused by a benign brain tumor that produces too much growth hormone. Because the internet wasn’t as prolific back then I didn’t have access to very much information. The doctor’s reports were doom and gloom with the possibility of unwanted side effects down the road. My body had already suffered from some physical changes.
It was a scary time — for about a second.
I immediately went into acceptance; accepting that I had no control over the situation and decided that if life was giving me lemons, I was making lemonade. I got into body building because the growth hormone gave me a natural advantage to put on muscle; plus, to be honest I had always dealt with body image issues and I wanted the perfect body.
I completely brushed off any fear, anger or sadness and just muscled through the emotional pain — literally.
Years later, after an abusive relationship ended and in the interest of taking full responsibility for my part, I began to re-evaluate my life and all the ways I had been showing up that had not served me.
I began to unravel a theme — I’d accepted everyone and everything in my life because everything “was in Divine Order”; or everyone was doing the best they could with the tools they had.
I’d never considered fully feeling any painful emotions like loss, betrayal, disappointment, regret, sadness, or anger — I wanted to be happy.
What I didn’t realize, was that this was a maladaptive coping mechanism in order to not deal with the uncomfortable emotions that come with being human. Somewhere along the way, primarily in my childhood, I picked up the message that it wasn’t safe to feel. That I was safe, secure and loved when I was perfectly happy, and that this made everyone around me happy too. As a result, I had some pretty well hidden wounds.
When we don’t allow ourselves to grieve and feel our hurt and our pain, no matter how irrational they may seem to our minds, they stick around as disowned beliefs, wounds and imprints.
Emotions are energy in motion (E + motion), they need to be released otherwise they get stored and fester creating problems later on down the road.
We have an emotional and spiritual body just like we have a physical body, and when one of them is sick your whole energy system is off. As a result, these subconscious wounds will dictate the frequency we create our life from.
Think about this, if we are cutting ourselves off from a valid part of the human experience, aren’t we in a way saying we don’t completely love ourselves? That we don’t accept who we are, human messiness and all?
We can better align with a frequency of Love and create with more ease and flow when we accept and nurture all parts of ourselves. I started doing this by first going into my body instead of my head when I felt a strong emotion. I allowed the emotion space and even fell apart from time to time. I would ask myself a series of grounding questions like “Where do I feel this?” “How old do I feel?”
I was careful not to shame myself about having the emotions. I would lovingly nurture myself, instead of looking to someone else to do it; and I would say “It’s okay to feel this Megyn, you are only human, I love you anyway.” And when I was done feeling whatever it was that was coming up for me, immediately I felt lighter, and more WHOLE!
Feeling the uncomfortable emotions was never as bad as my head had built it up to be, in fact the emotions moved through me much quicker than I had ever anticipated.
We don’t have to react from our emotions. It’s actually better not to; but we can honor them, use them as guides, and give them space so they don’t get trapped and show up as toxic behaviors like addiction, projection, shame and lack of self trust.
Using positive thoughts and affirmations are a great way to stay focused, keep your monkey mind at bay and develop new neural pathways; but they only work on the rational and logical level. If you are using them at the expense of other parts of your Being that are asking to be heard you could possibly be blocking the doorway into healing.
Fellow LOVERS know this:
Then you can go out into the world and emit all that Love you just gave yourself.
This post was originally debuted on The Daily Love. I never dreamed I’d be a contributor for TDL but sometimes as I have said over and over again, when we take responsibility for healing, we can align with our hearts and then the world will open up to us in ways our mind’s could never have imagined. Thank you for all the support!
Light and Love