When it comes to the positive-thought movement, there is a slow but steady under current that I see growing in strength as a result.
It's a current that pulls with full force below the surface, slowly dragging a person back out to the dark depths that they are fighting so hard to get away from.
It does not matter how hard you kick and swim. If a current is stronger than you, it will eventually overpower you and drain all of your strength until you have no choice but to surrender. This current, for most people, is all of the feelings they repress. Anger. Sadness. Guilt. Fear. All of those emotions that the positive-thought movement has told us are bad and need to be avoided.
The concept that we should constantly focus on and live in a positive and happy place arose from good intentions. A lot of it swept in when the law of attraction became a huge trend. The law of attraction came with a lot of wonderful and much needed information. From it, I learned a lot about how my thoughts become my reality, what it means to create my life from within, and how to tear down limitations I created in my mind.
I have also enjoyed all of the benefits of choosing to focus on the positive as much as possible. I've seen time and time again that when I'm grateful and excited about life the Universe responds in kind. More stuff for me to be grateful and excited about shows up.
However, this does not mean I have stopped feeling "negative" feelings at times.
That is not what life is about.
Life is about growing and expanding, and as you do so, you will undoubtedly come into periods where you feel things that scare you or make you sad. This is in fact a good thing, because it means you are challenging yourself and taking continual steps outside of your comfort zone. But because so much attention was heaped upon the idea that like attracts like, there's almost a paranoia for many people to NEVER AGAIN think a negative thing.
Don't think about what makes you angry, because you'll attract more of it. Don't feel sad because you'll perpetually find things in your life to be sad about.
If you're trying to bypass your disappointment or frustration because you think those feelings are going to ruin your life, you're jumping into waters with a dangerous undercurrent.
And worse, if you're living your life in a way that prioritizes avoiding all so-called negative thoughts and feelings, you're going to hold yourself back. Big time.
Life is not about avoiding what makes you feel the dark stuff. Life is about jumping in and letting yourself feel what you feel, and knowing that it's all working for your highest good, so long as you allow it to. Those feelings of frustration and sadness, they're trying to show you something. Something important.
As an example, I recently had an article published in an online magazine. They edited my article so heavily that it was no longer written in my voice. It was basically rewritten, and what I wanted to share was so heavily diluted down I ended up hating the version that was published. When I saw this, I was at first freaked out. What was wrong with what I’d written? The more I thought about it, the more angry I became.
There were some people in my life who immediately tried to push me onto the positive-thought bandwagon. "You should be grateful they even published you! It's a huge honor! Be excited and use that feeling to generate more good stuff!"
You know what I say to that? Bullshit.
I am not afraid of my own feelings. I am also not a doormat.
Just going along with this experience and claiming it was all good would have made me feel like I had lost all my gumption. It also would have kept me from getting the amazing clarity and realizations that were trying to surface with the anger and disappointment.
What I realized is, it's not okay for an editor to treat me like I don't exist. It's not okay for someone to rewrite my words. It's not okay for someone to take my creation and soulful expression, which came from my heart, and turn it into something else without my permission.
As I felt my anger, I could feel how much I believe in my own writing. If I didn't allow myself to feel the anger, I would be subconsciously saying this experience was okay. And you know what that means? It would happen again. And again. And again.
This is the power of negative feelings. They will help you to know with perfect clarity what you want in your life and don't want. And you will send out a clear signal with your thoughts that says NO to what you don't want.
If you go straight into trying to sugarcoat it all and being happy, then you will have gained nothing from the experience. And worse, the feelings that you repress will still be working their mojo. Just because you don't allow a feeling to arise into conscious awareness doesn't mean it loses its charge. It's in fact the opposite.
Things you repress still have an attraction factor.
Which is how so many people end up feeling the law of attraction doesn't work for them. They walk around thinking positive thoughts over and over. But deep down, they're pissed off or they don’t believe in themselves. And life keeps bringing them things to be pissed off about and reasons not to believe in themselves.
Trying to take an experience that upset you and jump immediately into HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY is like standing at the bottom of a hill and telling yourself you’re on the top. The only way up the hill is to first admit you’re on the bottom. From there, you can see clearly where you are, and take the necessary steps at your own pace to the top.
That’s all there is to it. Admit where you are, feel what you feel, and take action in order to move onto a new feeling.
As you do so, hold the intention that you be led to the happy thoughts. This is the key. The positive thoughts and feelings are still the ultimate goal. By allowing yourself to first work through what's keeping you from them, you will take the necessary steps that will help you to maintain the positive thoughts for real, without any undercurrent or backlash.
The more you allow yourself to feel what you feel, the faster you'll move through what you don't want. You'll master the art of letting the feeling give you clarity, letting it go, and choosing the feel-good thought that propels you forward. You will also be much less concerned about what other people are feeling, because you will understand that they are in their own process of gaining clarity and growing and expanding.
This will all help you to feel life is flowing so much easier. You won't feel like you're fighting an invisible current all the time.
You won't be afraid of making mistakes and taking leaps of faith, because if something unwanted happens, you'll know you can navigate the results with ease and grace. Even so-called negative thoughts and feelings will work for you as you learn to use them to gain clarity. Life will essentially work for you.
This, of course, does not mean that I condone projecting anger and such feelings onto other people. This is not about making other people your punching bag as you learn to navigate your feelings. You are still responsible for yourself and how you treat others, as they are also. It means you honor how you feel for the sake of living your highest and brightest potential. It means you choose not to be afraid of what life is trying to show you.
It means you love and cherish all of yourself, and you give yourself space to breathe without trying to suffocate what you initially don't understand.
One year I decided I would plant
an exquisite garden
with all kinds of
flowers, herbs and plants.When it was fully grown, I opened the
gate to my garden and welcomed in my
neighbors to see what I’d created.
The first person said I’d planted too
many roses. “Roses are so cliché,” they said.
You should change that, it makes the
whole garden seem old fashioned.
I found myself nodding my head and agreeing.
How could I have been so stupid?
Roses are totally cliché and overdone.
I should have been more original.
The roses are stupid, I can see it now,
and I hate them when I look at them.
The second person said my cactus in the corner
was weird, and it messed up the whole garden.
It was too random. What was a cactus doing here?
It made no sense.
And again, I found myself nodding in agreement.
How could I have been so stupid? The cactus is weird,
and now everyone knows I’m weird for having put it here.
The cactus is ugly and pointless and it’s ruining everything.
The cactus has to go, all I can see when I look at it
is how much I hate it.