Copyright 2015 Denise Simone, Speaker, Life Coach, Writer and Teacher.  All Rights Reserved.

Why Positive Thinking Doesn’t Always Work

June 26, 2018


I often hear “think positive and everything will work out.” We may tell ourselves to think positive and repeat positive affirmations and yes, sometimes this does in fact create change. However, if we are not in tune with our subconscious beliefs, we will find ourselves spinning in circles, continuing to create the same unwanted results over and over again.


Attempting to just think positive can keep us feeling like we are stuck in a spin cycle because under these thoughts and happy demeanor, something is lurking in the dark and until we are willing to shine a light on it, it will continue to direct our lives. This “something” is called our Wounded Ego. It is the voice that hangs out in our head and sends us messages all day long, often without us even realizing it. The truth is our Ego is a wonderful aspect of us and without it, we wouldn’t be able to live out this glorious human experience. What’s also true is that there is a part of us that has been hurt, neglected and abandoned and when left unchecked, it can lead us down a path where we find ourselves asking, “How the heck did I end up here?” I like to think that when we are ready to surrender to this powerful question, our ego has done its job well. It means we just might be ready to commit to taking a deep dive within and discover all that our soul is really calling forth in us.


So what does this wounded part of us sound like? The first thing to know is that it's loud, persistent and incredibly repetitive. It will compare us to the rest of the world and tell us all kinds of stories. It will insist that we should always strive to be better and/or do better. It might tell us that we must try hard to be the best or perhaps not try at all. It might tell us to out shine everyone or that it’s safer to stay small and fit in so that we don’t shine at all. It may tell us to stay quiet when we know we really want to speak up or to speak up when it’s really best to stay silent. It will keep us experiencing scarcity because deep down we believe we aren’t worthy or it may tell us that we better be really successful because only then will we finally feel good enough. It keeps us in jobs and relationships that drain our life force or perhaps tells us we can’t have what we really desire so it’s better to settle for what's in front of us. It tells us we will never be good enough so that we give up before we even try or it may even tell us that we are fine just the way we are, always keeping us from real growth and expansion. Yes, it's a sneaky little fella. It may keep us pointing the finger outward, making everyone else wrong so we never have to look within or maybe it might convince us that we are the problem and that we will never “get it right.” Perhaps it might even tell us that once we get “there” we will be finally be happy. If we could just find our soulmate, get married, have children, buy that house or get that next big job - only then all will be well. It’s the voice that always speaks loudest. It’s demanding and righteous and believes what it wants to believe all in an effort to keep us feeling safe, protected and comfortable. It keeps us playing the role of the victim and standing on the sidelines of life rather than playing life full out. It attempts to keep us from knowing and fulfilling our destiny. 


Because it’s been in the driver’s seat for so long, it is impossible to slap positive thinking over it and pretend that it doesn’t exist. It just doesn’t work. This is like asking someone who just broke a leg to stand up and walk. We must take the time to look at the wounds and properly heal them before we can stand tall again. The same applies to our mind. We must take the time to identify our limited thoughts and beliefs, tend to the wounds and heal them by turning inward. We must be willing to give ourselves the love that is already within us instead of attempting to receive it from external sources, people and addictions. 


So how do we begin to actually heal?


First and foremost, it is important to know that we already have all we need within us to bring these limiting thoughts and emotions to the forefront and shine a light on them. Often because we believe that what we focus on expands, we also believe we shouldn’t put attention on our negative thoughts and emotions. When it comes to truly healing from the inside out, it’s crucial to become acutely self-aware of our limited thought patterns and the emotions attached to them. We can’t heal what we aren’t willing to feel. As the late spiritual teacher, Debbie Ford would say, “what we refuse to be with, won’t let us be.” The intention is never to attempt to get rid of or resist them. The intention is to accept, love and integrate them in a way that empowers us. The key is that we learn how to get behind the wheel and begin to guide the wounded ego rather than allowing it to guide us.


The following are three powerful steps to embracing our wounds so that we can step into the driver’s seat of our life.


Step 1Want and Believe in Change More Than Anything Else. We must be willing to take responsibility for who we are from the inside out. We must commit to paying close attention to the messages that our Ego is telling us. Ignoring and denying them is what keeps them stuck in a repetitive pattern. The more we are willing to hear these messages and face them head on, the more we come to see that we don’t actually have to believe in them. The ego’s messages are never true. We believe they are true because we are familiar with them and they make us feel comfortable and safe. Who would we be without them? That question can create a lot of uncertainty, but that’s also the question to ask if we wish to create real and lasting change. We have to be willing and committed to step into a new way of being. If you’re unsure of your wounded thought patterns, just continue to check in with your feelings. When we are in a low energetic state, you can be sure your limited thinking is doing some serious talking. This low vibrational state exists because we are buying into thought patterns that no longer serving us or inspire us. They are simply old stories that may have once protected us and served us in our past, but today continue to sabotage us and keep us from living fully in the present moment. We must have a deep knowing that these old stories can be permanently transformed.


Step 2 — Forgive Your Thinking. When you notice your limited thought patterns, repeat this affirmation. “I see you. I hear you. I forgive you. I release you.” A simple phrase can create powerful shifts in our awareness. Forgiving our thinking means continuously forgiving ourselves for having these thoughts. It means accepting, embracing and loving our thoughts rather than denying them, making them wrong and criticizing them. It means fully owning all of what we are thinking and feeling in every moment and knowing that we have a choice to either beat ourselves up over it or to forgive and release them. Forgiveness opens the doorway to conscious choice and helps us to see that we get to choose if we want to keep a feeling, thought, or behavior or if we desire to release it.


Step 3 — Love the Wounded Ego. There are many teachings out there that explain we must "get rid" of the Ego. The truth is as long as it's a part of who we are, we should never attempt to get rid of anything.  It's like trying to cut off a limb. We don't need to get rid of it, we just need to embrace and heal it. Loving our Ego means accepting it for all that it has to tell us. It can be our greatest teacher and ally if we use consciously. The more we listen to what it has to say, the more power we have over truly transforming the messages that it sends us. We must nurture it, witness it, converse with it, and question it. The more we engage with it and truly honor it, the more room the voice of our truth has room to come through and guide us. The more we heal the wounded aspect of our Ego, the more room we create for the voice of our intuition to naturally come though with inspiration and guidance.  We won’t need to force affirmations in order to feel good. We will already feel good from embracing and loving our “negative” mind.


Committing to these steps opens the doorway to our authentic self. Affirming “positive” thinking works best when we are already feeling in alignment with knowing that we are enough, not when we are striving to get to a place of feeling like we are enough. There is a big energetic difference. The way to reach this place of alignment, clarity and truth is to love and embrace ALL of who we are especially the parts of us that we most resist looking at. That is the sweet spot and where the real magic happens.


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