Last week we explored the nugget of truth in the idea of the Law of Attraction. This week, I want to explore the next self-help idea that can get diluted in its message and usefulness - positive thinking and affirmations.
At first glance, this approach's merits are hard to argue, but affirmations and silver-lining thinking can be counter-productive. It's not that affirmations don't have a place, but in my experience, all emotions, including the negative ones, are messages that need to be heeded, not glossed over. Positive thinking them away is akin to putting a bouquet of beautiful flowers on top of stinky garbage, hoping to make it smell nice!
Many times clients, through no fault of their own, will interpret us reframing a situation as positive thinking and will say to me, “I was trying to be positive all week, but it didn’t work.” As their life coach, I take full responsibility for not demonstrating and explaining the important difference between positive thinking and reframing.
Here's an example: Maybe you just found out you have a big bill to pay. Negative thinking would be: “This always happens to me, I never make enough money, and I am such a failure.” Positive thinking: “Money always shows up just when I need it. God or The Universe will provide.” Reframing: “As much as I don't like it, I have handled this type of thing before, and I know I can create a solution.”
You may or may not feel positive, or talk positively, but that doesn't mean your self-talk is negative or self-depracating. It's a language of learning, choice and action. Positive thinking is often passive, while re-framing is active.
THE NUGGET: Optimism and re-framing are helpful. This means that you have the resilience and belief that eventually things will work out (maybe not always the way you hoped!)You trust that you can make a shift or change and then take action that'll make a difference (optimism). You choose to look at what you can learn, what support is available, and the steps you can take to care for yourself and make the best choice (re-framing).
Affirmations and positive thinking are useful tools and can support making changes, improving mood and bolstering actions; however, they aren't meant to cover disappointment, heartache and challenge. Once the issues have been felt and dealt with, these tools can bolster confidence, improve your energy, and provided momentum.
If you want support working through challenges, reframing a situation and taking positive steps forward, I am here! Reach out for a free consultation, send me your questions and ideas, or you can read a little more HERE!
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