Growing up whenever things were hard I would hear the phrase “count your blessings” and be grateful for what you have. You know, basically saying quit our bitchin’
It is common wisdom that increased gratitude leads to increased happiness. Which is true… gratitude helps us gain perspective on our lives.
Being grateful can be used as you are going through a challenging time.
You are getting a divorce, a deadline at work is looming, or you are caretaking for a loved one.
As you are moving through change or transition, or even trying to become “unstuck,” being grateful is an awesome way of gaining a new perspective and feeling some positive energy in your life.
The danger comes when we choose to think positive to avoid dealing with the truly negative areas of our lives.
For example, you hate getting up every morning, you struggle to go to work, and you are a walking zombie throughout your day.
Thinking positive and being grateful,
- might put a nice spin on your day,
- might give you some peace for a temporary time,
- but it won’t make things better in the long term.
It won’t improve your job and make you feel like less of a walking zombie. It is a Band-Aid for an open wound.
Thinking positive keeps us from asking the hard questions:
- What do I want my life to look like?
- What changes do I need to make in my life, both big and small?
- What is holding me back?
Sometimes we just need a Perspective Band-Aid. For example, I have a bad day, a conversation with my brother doesn’t go the way I like, and I am not as productive as I want to be.
So rather than coming home and vomiting my bad day all over my nearest and dearest, I choose to think positively about the things that went well. I choose to think positively about my day—because overall, my life is good. Thinking positive allows me to change my mood in the moment and feel better for the time being. I also choose to analyze my day and look at what things I can make different tomorrow.
- What about the interaction didn’t go well?
- Why wasn’t I as productive?
Sometimes life is out of our control, people become sick, we have to stay in a job to make the money we need to survive, or the transition out of a relationship takes longer than we thought it would.
Thinking positive helps us move gracefully through these times. However, we need both; we need awareness of the muck and grief and we need to be grateful for the other areas of our lives that are full of joy and promise.
Thinking positive is a way to help us gain a new perspective and be happy about the things in our lives we love.However, we still need to take stock of our lives, be intentional about our choices, and make the necessary changes to Live Happier.
When thinking positive keeps us in denial or stuck, it isn’t serving us—it is trapping us in a cycle of pain, shame, and hiding ourselves from the world.
- Are there places in your life where you are using positive thinking as a coping mechanism?
- Is positive thinking keeping you from fully engaging in your life?
Today’s question comes from Jan and she asks,
“You said in a prior podcast that one of the keys to LH is to sit with the uncomfortable emotions. I have tried to just sit, and it isn’t going well I am curious, how do you do this?
Listen to the podcast for my answer.
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