Positive thinking has become a term that many of us have learned well. We are told to not be so negative, move on, and let it go. We know to think about the things we want as opposed to the things we don’t want. We remind ourselves that negativity breeds more negativity and therefore we should try to avoid it at all costs. We are aware that we should not dwell on sadness and loss, and instead find the lessons and move forward.
For so long, I have understood and practiced the above. I prided myself on being a strong and positive person. I found ways to move through hardships and heartache by viewing them as opportunities for growth. I would attempt to refocus negativity into something positive. As a result, not only did I see myself as strong and positive, others did as well.
Recently, I’ve experienced some hardships that have hurt me more deeply than ever before. I found myself relying on my old ways of positive thinking to get me through the pain and sadness. I exercised, meditated, visited with friends, worked, and most importantly, spent quality time with my son. Each and every morning, I would wake up with a smile on my face and place one foot in front of the other, determined to heal and gain strength.
As time went on and on and on, I realized that the negative feelings within me remained. Not only did they stick around, they had actually begun to weigh me down. I was not healing and building strength, I was hardening and building walls.
Then I read a quote somewhere that said it is important to allow our pain to exist. When I read this, I realized that I had been missing a very crucial step on my road toward healing. Before I could begin the process of practicing positivity, I needed to first accept my negative feelings and let them exist. These feelings were there for a reason and first and foremost, I needed to know that it was acceptable to feel them. I began telling myself things like, “It’s ok to feel this way” and “Of course I would feel like this.” By giving the pain a right to exist, I in turn gave it love.
Whenever we resist something and do not give it the acknowledgement and acceptance it requires, it tends to grow bigger and stronger until we do. We are actually giving the negativity power. Once we finally allow something to simply be, it no longer needs to fight for its right to exist. I very quickly realized that this was where I would find healing and strength. As I had the strength to sit with my pain and follow it where it needed to take me, I learned and I healed. It was at this point that I was truly able to move toward positivity and positive thinking. I clearly understand now that when negativity exists within me my process toward healing and moving forward is to feel whatever it is I am feeling, acknowledge it and my right to feel it, and then convert it into a positive. For at least a short while, we need to let negativity exist if positivity is to bloom.