We have all heard of the “power” of positive thinking.
As much as it seems like an excellent thing to practice, unfortunately, it’s not all.. well, positive.
Its likely at some point someone has told you to “cheer up” or “smile more.”
Not only are comments like this incredibly condescending, it actually activates shame and can cause the recipient to feel guilt around their emotions.
When I was experiencing depression, I had a doctor tell me to “just think positive.” I remember looking at him and thinking to myself “how the hell do I do that?”
I felt like a failure.
It seemed so simple to him – why wasn’t I able to do it?
From that moment I decided I needed to figure it out.
I became a happiness junkie, devouring every self-help book I could find, I learned how to practice positive affirmations and I learned the mental mechanics behind positive psychology.
I figured, if other people could be happy I could be too. And the only thing in the way, was myself.
I was determined to fix myself.
I became hell-bent on being anything other than what I was.
But, this kind of self-rejection is incredibly unhealthy.
Denying the emotions that exist within us only fuels negativity.
Sure it may repress it for a while. But somewhere, somehow the root cause of those emotions will emerge.
Positive thinking your way away from “negative” or painful emotions does not heal them.
Embracing them does.
When we are having a hard time in life, or there is persistent negative thought, that is generally a message that something in our lives or within our psyche is not right.
These feelings are guidance from your soul to take a look at your life and make a change.
Unfortunately, our culture has become slightly obsessed with positive thinking, which means that we are rejecting our shadows, the parts of our self that need just as much love and attention as the other parts of ourselves.
It is in the shadows holding us back, that we find gems of self-realisation to propel us into growth.
So if you are experiencing negative thoughts or painful emotions, don’t try to shove them down or push them aside.
Learn to embrace them as a part of your uniqueness.
And by all means, strengthen your positivity muscles too.
Use affirmations, learn how to be happy.
But don’t do it from a place of needing to fix yourself.
You do not need fixing. You are enough.