“It’s shit just positive thinking!”
When we said that to a friend of ours the other day – her reply was – “What are you talking about? You guys are probably the most positive people I know”. So let me explain what we mean by that.
What I hear frequently at networking events, on line, at conferences – is a lot of misunderstanding about the term “positive thinking”. There are many people who will tell you that all you need to do to have a happy and successful life is think positively. Well, I am sorry but that is just bollocks!
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am generally an optimist, as is Marion, (the co-creator of The Find Your WHY! Foundation) and we advocate that the only thing you can control in life is YOUR own reaction to what happens. And a lot of that is about choice. You can choose to see yourself as a victim and adopt a ‘poor me’ mentality when shit happens, or you can choose not to. And sometimes – it is OK to choose to wallow for a bit.
After all some serious shit happens in life. If you have just lost someone close to you unexpectedly or well ‘before their time’, or someone drives into the back of your new car and writes it off, or the big contract you were promised doesn’t materialise – we don’t expect you to be happy about it. We don’t want you walking around saying – “Well, that was a good thing, I am happy about that”, cos that’s just crazy talk. And it is OK to take some time to grieve, be cross, blame bad luck or any other way you want to express how you feel.
And equally, you can’t ‘magic’ that stuff away or prevent it happening. It’s something that makes me very angry about the concept of ‘positive thinking’, and one of the reasons why I believe that there is a misunderstanding about positive thinking as it can actually lead to more stress and sometimes even to depression. Think about this… imagine that you’ve been engaged in positive thinking every day, religiously and something bad happens – a death, divorce or disappointment… How do you feel? Happy? NOT!
In fact, I’d argue that going from the heights of happiness to the depths of despair is a very long drop! This when self-pity can start “why does this always happen me!” or the blame “So much for the Law of Attraction! IT doesn’t work”. But either way, you end up feeling really bad.
So let’s take a look at how positive thinking (or perhaps a better term is positive psychology), can work wonders. Your thoughts create neural pathways in your brain and they can shape your life in many ways.
Positive thinking and having positive chemicals in the body (endorphins and some other chemicals) gives you a great feeling and making this a habit, is the essence of positive psychology. However, when you need to fight or flee (the basics of fear) then the body will be given a big dose of adrenaline which will override the happy chemicals, which is a good thing…
Imagine you’re on a happy walk, the sun is shining, you’re smiling, everybody around you is smiling and then out of the corner of your eye, you see a big red box coming towards you so you have a choice:
1. Do you keep smiling – be happy with your endorphins and the other chemicals partying – as you get flattened.
2. Would you prefer for the adrenaline to kick in, wipe the smile off your face and get you the fuck out of the way of the bus?
So what’s the point I’m trying to make?
Sometimes positive thinking gets overruled to keep you safe; sometimes positive thinking isn’t appropriate, e.g. when you need to grieve.
We are not designed to be positive all of the time, If you’ve seen the Pixar film “Inside Out” you’ll know that you can’t know happiness without knowing what sadness is, you can’t know positive without knowing what negative is (if you haven’t seen the film, watch it, with or without children!)
Choosing to focus on positive and happy things, IS a healthy thing to do. There is a studypublished by the Journal of Research in Personality, where students were asked to write down one very positive experience every day for 3 days. 3 months later they had fewer illnesses and fewer visits to the health centre than those in the control group. Yes, you read that right – 3 months later.
But you see – here’s the point. Yes, those students were writing down positive stuff – but it wasn’t made up, imaginary stuff, it was actual real positive experiences. And there is an important – unstated – fact that underlies that. They believed what they were writing because it was true.
The thing with positive thinking is that sometimes there is a disconnect between the positive words you’re thinking or saying, and the belief in those words. It’s all down to those neural pathways in the brain again.
So what I’d really like to clarify is that I think “positive thinking alone is S.H.I.T.!”
It takes more than some positive thoughts to override the body’s natural response to produce adrenaline in a negative experience, it takes more than just saying positive words to change those unconscious thought patterns.
It takes belief in the words you are saying, they need to be positive, possible, plausible and proper (fair). So sometimes you don’t even have to believe it but it is really important that you don’t DIS believe it.
The other thing that is key, is that sometimes you can believe your positive words, and bad stuff still happens. You believe you are going to win the sale, and you don’t. You believe the tests will come back negative and they are positive. Or vice versa. Because there is a difference between believing and knowing through experience. But that’s a subject for another day.
For now – ‘thinking positive thoughts’ on its own won’t make the difference you want to see in your life. There are other tools and techniques you need to know and implement to make the changes you want. And until you know them ‘positive thinking’ on its own can actually be counter productive.
So when I say positive thinking is S.H.I.T. – there is a reason for the full stops. It IS an acronym (you know I love them) and there IS a system that we will be sharing with you over the next few weeks that you can learn and use to create positive changes in your life, so you can #FindYourWhy and Live, Love and Laugh everyday!
In the book Find Your WHY! To Become Frickin’ Awesome and in The Live Love Laugh Lounge, WHYs women (women who know their WHY) are given access to tools to help to uncover and discover and recover all parts of themselves.
A.I.M. for happiness is a program that we have developed. Cheryl Chapman and myself co-created the book, this community and developed the program using A.I.M. as the focus of the work that we do with you.
Awareness comes first. This means becoming aware of who you are. Uncovering, Discovering and Recovering more and more Awareness of yourself, who you are, where you are in life right now, how did you get to be here, where do you want to go, and how can you make it there.
I is for Intention and now that you have awareness part of this is clarification of your intentions, both conscious and unconscious. Why you do what you do. What it is that you want: to do – to be – to have and to experience. These are all parts of your intention.
And finally the M is to Manifest, to Make it happen, to Move your arse!
The WHY’s women of The Live Love Laugh Lounge™ are a supportive community of like minded and collaborative women. We believe that…
“You don’t have to figure it out on your own
and You don’t have to do it alone!”
Many people often ask WHY! do you not work with men too, well the answer is we do, however, most men opt for our Personal Mentoring and you can find out more here.
In the community groups we run, Cheryl and myself help women like you to Find Your WHY!
In “The Live Love Laugh Lounge™” we offer online lessons and mentorship programs that take you through a step-by-step structured approach with the AIM to Find Your WHY! To Become Frickin’ Awesome.
You’ll discover all you need to know about who you are, the roles you play, how to best support you and find abundant health, wealth and happiness!
Complete the boxes below to get you hands on a FREE hard copy of the book Find Your WHY!
(all we ask is a small fee for shipping & handling)
In the meantime Remember to Live Love Laugh everyday and continue to be YOU in your own UNIQUE way!
Love Marion (& Cheryl) xx