Positive thinking: something we are told we should be doing more. Don’t like the weather? You should be thinking positively, it could be much worse! Don’t like your husband right now? At least you have a husband! Let’s be honest, for the most part – these helpful tips do not work.
They don’t because you tend to the thought: yes, it could be worse, but only for a short moment, and then you default to your normal patterned ways of thinking which are: it is shitty weather and my husband is incapable of having a meaningful conversation.
Positive thinking plays on the mind, not the heart, so this is really the reason it is not as effective as we might like it to be.
Positive thinking is just that – thoughts. Thoughts can only make you feel better if the feeling behind the thought is better.
Wouldn’t my life as a therapist and coach be swell if it was just that easy? If someone comes in noting that they are incredibly sad, bored, lonely, and borderline depressed in their current relationship, and I respond, “But you have a nice house, and by the way, it is sunny today”. They pay me $$$ and leave feeling wonderful!!
Let’s be honest. It doesn’t work. What does work however is focusing on a better feeling thought. What do I mean by that? Well, it would be different for everyone, but it usually means focusing on what brings you joy. Thus, despite what is happening around us, we can focus on what has always brought us joy in the past. Maybe you were once an avid reader and life distracted you from it, or maybe you stopped playing music when kids came along because the house needed to be quiet, and you forgot how much music moved your energy.
Life changed when we got married and if you had children, it really changed. We forget who we are as a person. What lit us up when we were younger? Remember when you use to have those deep belly laughs? What made you laugh? Do you laugh with your partner? Why not? Has life taken these moments away from you? Guess what, you get to have them back.
When I focus on a better feeling thought (for me, this might be upcoming events that I look forward to, a special dish I want to prepare, a nature walk, or the simple fact that I have my health, full mobility, my morning coffee, or my bed…) it quickly brings me to gratitude. Gratitude radiates from the heart (not the mind) and that is why it works. But it would help if you went to the feeling first…not the thought. Look inside your heart, take a deep breath, and transport yourself to the sense of peacefulness that you get from doing the things that bring you joy.
Practice this and watch how your outlook on life and your relationship changes. You will see that you will naturally prefer these feelings/thoughts over all the reasons why your partner is not the right person for you. Has this helped you? Let me know.