Spiritual pitfall: Positive thinking

“Think positive” is probably one of the best known slogans people associate with spirituality. This is what attracts people to spirituality (doesn’t it mean you’re happy all the time?) and at the same time makes people reject it. These people instinctively feel that “being happy all the time” simply is not feasible. So, how to interpret this slogan correctly?

Positivity as end result

Negative feelings appear as we all know. If you read my last post, you would also know that I even consider it to be necessary. Therefore, positivity doesn’t have to be a continuous starting point. We all feel bad and that’s completely fine.

However, many people feel they have failed when negative emotions appear on their spiritual path. They think that their ego’s have taken control whenever they feel negative about something. This might be true, but not acknowledging and allowing the negativity appear just as it is, speaks even more of an overpowering ego.

Negative feelings are normal and should be accepted. In fact, you need no more than just feeling your pain. Don’t try to push away the pain in order to replace it with a positive feeling. Once you accept and feel the pain, the positive feeling will come all by itself. In other words, the end result will be a positive feeling, which doesn’t imply that you have to manipulate the negative feeling right from the start.

Feeling positive instead of thinking positive

As I have mentioned, once you feel and accept the negative emotion, you will automatically feel better. This feeling comes from acceptance and the acknowledgement of the here and now. You don’t necessarily need to think about anything.

Your thoughts undoubtedly can help you in the process of feeling better, but eventually mere thoughts won’t help you. Once you are really in the here and now, simply feeling whatever feeling arises (even if it’s negative), you will automatically feel lighter and happier. Negative feelings tend to vanish once you drop your negative thoughts, but this doesn’t mean you necessarily have to start telling yourself a positive story.

If, for example, my boy friend has left me I don’t need to make a list of all positive aspects of not being in a relationship with him anymore. As long as you don’t feel it’s better without him, don’t try to force yourself. Feel your grief and pain and don’t try to push it away with your positivity.

We are so used to wanting to control whatever outcome, we spend a lot of energy in resisting the here and now. In my opinion, compulsive positive self-talk is a form of control and resistance.Wanting to resist the truth is a waste of our energy and will drain us. Letting go of this resistance is a huge relief and eventually leads to a better feeling. But therefore, you will have to welcome the negativity first.

Letting go of resistance should also not be confused with inaction. You can always choose to accept your situation and your feelings with all your heart, but this doesn’t mean you have to stay in an undesired situation. You should accept that you are there at that moment and that is exactly where you should be at that moment, but this doesn’t mean you have to be there forever. But this is another spiritual pitfall which I might write a post about another time.

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