Positive thinking is not about denial

I try to think positively. For years, I was a “glass-half-empty” type of girl until I realized that it made me tired and life wasn’t very much fun. I started reading different books that told me that my thinking affects my reality. A friend also told me, “if you want to find something wrong, you always will.” It helped me snap out of it and start to looking for the good things in life. I started a grateful diary and each day I would write down five things that I was grateful for. It made me start looking for the positive outcomes in each day. Before long, I started to do it automatically. Now, I will examine everything that happens in my life and try to determine what I am supposed to learn from it or search for the positive outcome to tie it to later.

The other thing that happens, when you start to think positively, is that negative people around you are magnified. I couldn’t see them before because I was accepting of their negativity. When I began to think positively, negative comments made me feel as if the energy was being sucked from my body. I felt tired listening to defeatist attitudes. Being a positive person makes your feel light while being negative makes you feel hopeless, fearful and as if everyone is out to get you. It’s impossible to avoid all negativity. We live in a world that thrives on it, but it doesn’t mean that I have to internalize it.

A lot of people don’t understand what it means to think positive. Negativity is so deeply ingrained that it’s hard to really understand what it means to change your thinking. Many people thinks it’s hippie, free-love type stuff. That’s not necessarily true. It’s not about thinking the world is perfect or that life is perfect. Positive thinking is not about denial. It’s more about acceptance. Negative thinking is about believing that your reality should be different. Negative thinking is a resistance of the truth and your responsibility for your reality.

“Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation.”- Michael Jordan

I still have hard times. I have moments when I am upset, angry and a range of emotions. It’s not about denying emotions, but rather accepting them. Now, I experience my emotions. In the past, when I felt an emotion bubbling up inside of me, I would push it down and act like I had no right to feel it. I would swallow my emotions and try to distract myself. I’m not perfect. There are times when I still try to numb myself with some sort of distraction. But, when I am aware of my emotions, I write them down. I write down every feeling that I am experiencing and I give myself permission to feel them. I sit with them until they pass. Surprisingly, when I see them I realize that most of the thoughts or words are not necessarily true. Sometimes, the emotion is an overreaction and irrational. When I see it on paper, I know that I am blowing the situation out of proportion. It also helps me to see what emotions are tied to the situation or which are my own latent fears.

To me, being positive is really about being aware, accepting and responsible. I try to be aware of my emotions and feelings. I try to accept what is, in order to decrease my suffering. I am responsible for how I react and what lesson I am supposed to learn from everything, whether good or bad, that happens in my life. If I believe that everything that comes into my life is a lesson, then everything that happens is a gift to me.  At times, I say I will replaced positive with blessed. I do feel blessed. I have the ability to see everything that happens to me and in the world in a way that helps it make sense to me. I see that everything is connected and a setback is really a reset to prepare me for something greater. It makes me feel like I have nothing to worry about.

Negative thinking doesn’t serve me. Positive thinking helps me get up and get through everyday. It might annoy some people, but I don’t do it for you. I do it for me, because I feel empowered to make my life better.  Try it. You just might like it.

“Choosing to be positive and having a grateful attitude is going to determine how you’re going to live your life.”- Joel Osteen 


  1. I like that you don’t deny your other feelings, but rather accept them all in a rational way. I think I’m going to start writing things down like that. For now I just say to myself, “I’m blessed” and I feel less likely to blow things out of proportion.

  2. Erika, Thank you for your comment. It can help to put things into perspective. As long as you understand why everything happens in your life, you are on the right road.

Comments are closed.