Think happy thoughts. Stay positive. Focus on the good. Be optimistic. Surround yourself with happy and positive people. BLAH!
These are the types of messages that we are repeatedly told by empowerment gurus, or the latest variation of these, ‘thought leaders,’ to live a happier life. However, while focusing on the positive is helpful, it is only a small part of the overall process.
Focusing on ‘happy’ or ‘positive’ may get you an immediate shift, however, without also acknowledging and addressing the contributing factors as to why you aren’t feeling this in the first place, this process alone won’t stick long term.
Focusing implies ‘willing’ (read: forcing) your mind to have this experience. Not only is this ineffective or sustainable long term, you may also be ignoring the root cause of these less than desirable experiences, which will keep showing up until it is acknowledged.
We can never underestimate the infinite intelligence and wisdom of our mind, body and spirit. Remember, the conscious mind represents less than 10 per cent of what’s going on, while the subconscious represents over 90 per cent, this is why ‘thinking’ your way positive won’t work long term.
What is going on at the subconscious level shows up in our feelings, emotions, behaviours, beliefs, as well as our constant mind chatter. Your job is to listen and feel.
The problem is that we don’t always like what we hear or feel, so we ignore it and hope it goes away. We are also constantly being told that ‘negative’ (e.g. anger, sadness, irritability, despair etc) is bad, so we don’t always allow ourselves to experience these emotions fully and safely in the moment, and then pretend we are anything but.
These unexpressed feelings don’t go away; they just get stuffed down into the subconscious. These may show up as physical ailments, ‘leaks’ of energy (e.g. we may have an anger outburst over something minor), or worse, we numb it, which obviously affects things like self-expression and experiencing passion, love and joy. This is where behaviours like over eating, alcohol and drug consumption, and keeping yourself busy may come in.
It takes brutal self-honesty and courage to delve into your deeper self and acknowledge these shadow aspects, and to do this in a non-judgmental way. However, it is the pathway to embody true happiness, in the most authentic, juicy and empowering way.
Removing what’s preventing you from the positive outcome is essential prior to replacing this with positive thoughts. In other words, get rid of the weeds before you plant your garden!