I often wondered how it was possible to stay positive all the time and never have doubts. I would listen to motivational speakers talk, read self-help books, and research all the materials I could find on being positive, yet those pesky doubts were always looming just around the bend.
What I am learning to recognize is that EVERYONE has negative thoughts. Anyone who says they do not is a liar! The main difference between those of us successfully adopting a positive outlook and the others is that we do not allow those thoughts to remain! In other words, when negative thoughts creep in, and they do, we do not continue to entertain them. They are immediately turned away from and replaced with the positive outcome we hope to take its place.
When I realized this, it was almost like a get out of jail free card for me! I was wrestling with the concept that my negative thoughts just continued trying to take up residency in my head, as I struggled with staying positive. Then I realized, therein is the whole crux of the issue at hand. Struggling to stay positive and wrestling with the thought of failure. Hmmmm..... doesn't sound so positive does it?
One of the concepts that I have learned is that what you resist persists. The harder you fight against something, the more prevalent it becomes. So in all honesty, the harder I tried to remove negative thoughts, the more they seemed to multiply.
In teaching behavior modification, one of the concepts I have always tried to instill in parents is placing your attention on those things you want to increase, and not paying any attention to those things you do not like. If a child is inappropriately behaving and you scold him and give a lecture on why you do not approve of that behavior, you can pretty much expect to see more of it! If you ignore that behavior, yet when you catch them engaging in a behavior you want to see more of, you reward it and give tremendous attention, you will see the negative decrease and the positive increase. It's behavior 101, but I somehow I never generalized that concept over to my thought patterns.
When it comes to thinking, the same rules apply. Attention and reinforcement are given to those positive thoughts you want to increase. When a negative thought intrudes into your field, you simply ignore it and make a conscious effort change your thoughts to something more positive and appropriate. If you sit there and toil over how to get rid of the negative thought, where are your thoughts focused? Fighting against this consistently is certainly enough to tip the balance and send you back into a negative overall frame of mind, and quickly.
Realizing that I didn't have to “DO” anything other than change my thought topic to something more desirable was a game changer for me. I suppose to some degree, I expected there to be a formula to follow or list of things to do in order to conquer this beast of negative thinking. Realizing it was much easier than I imagined was welcome indeed. I was able to relax in the knowledge that it was no big deal. Just shoo it away like an annoying mosquito, and continue enjoying and focusing on my activities! YAY! What a relief.
So next time you catch yourself deep in the territory of negative thought, just change your geography! Make a course correction and start heading in the right direction! Think instead about whatever makes you happy, what you desire, or what you are grateful for. Before you know it, you will find this is becoming much less of an issue, and the stress you were placing on yourself to stay positive will evaporate! Hope this is helpful for you!
Love and Light,