Why thinking positive isn’t working for you…
Thinking positive of course won’t change your infertility diagnosis. It won’t change your medical condition.
Thinking positive won’t change the treatments you have to go through. It won’t change the fertility drugs you have to take.
Thinking positive won’t change the doctor’s appointments, the tests and procedures.
Of course not.
But that’s not the point.
Thinking positive has become the latest trend in healthy living – to the point that it has become so overused, you want to push back against it and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine!
The problem is there is something missing from the “think positive” conversation and that is the acknowledgement of the negative.
Like yin and yang, night and day, hot and cold – you need the opposite in order to know what you are experiencing or what you want to experience. In other words, we need to acknowledge that you can’t experience positive things without first experiencing negative things.
So, for me thinking positive means I have to be aware of the negative thoughts.
The current conversation has many thinking or assuming you just think positive and everything is all good.
Thinking positive isn’t about there being no negatives or just always having an annoyingly sunny disposition.
Because the fact of the matter is:
- You will always have negative thoughts
- There will always be negative things that happen – crime, wars, death, etc are inevitable.
Thinking positive doesn’t and will not eradicate those things.
What it aims to do is bring your attention to and make you aware of how much of your lived experience you are seeing through a negative lens.
It’s estimated that the average person thinks anywhere between 50,000 and 80,000 thoughts a day. Let’s say it’s 50,000 that would mean you think an average of 2,100 thoughts per hour; of those thoughts 80% are negative and 90% are repetitive.
That means everything you perceive, everything you experience, everything you come into contact with is veiled in negativity.
Negative thoughts are negative self-talk; and how much of that self-commentary is out of your awareness?
When you start to pay attention to your thoughts only then can you make a change to actively think more positive.
The biggest change in my life was realising that I can have secondary infertility AND still feel good about my life.
Infertility does not automatically equate to a bad life, the two things are not mutually exclusive, they’re not even necessarily related.
And yet you can feel that they are.
Thinking positive hasn’t changed the fact that I haven’t conceived. Thinking positive HAS changed how I FEEL about the fact I haven’t conceived YET.
People get frustrated and hung up on thinking positive and that it doesn’t work. Another thing missing from the conversation is that thinking positive is just one part of the equation. What’s missing is the feeling.
I’ve done it to, forcing yourself to think positive but what you’re feeling is anxious. How can you have a positive experience when you’re feeling anxious and worried – the two don’t align.
Thoughts and feelings must be aligned.
So, what do you need to do?
- First pay attention to the feeling – and address what your need is and how you can get it met in a healthy way. If you’re anxious – address your worries, is it within your control? Can you fix it? What needs to be done? Is it something in the future? Can it wait to another day?
- Accept that it may take TIME for feelings of anxiety or low mood to pass – try not to numb it with food, alcohol, shopping or whatever you use to “feel” better, these will only help in the short term.
- Become aware of the negative thoughts and start to challenge them – often negative thoughts are assumptions or false beliefs; challenge them with facts or opposing thoughts. For example, if you think “what if it doesn’t work out?” change it to “what if it does?”
- The more you can counter or challenge your anxious or negative thoughts, with more positive ones, the more you will feel positive about your experience or situation. Thoughts control feelings, feelings control behaviour.
If you try it and it doesn’t work for you, don’t get down on yourself. This is not another thing to beat yourself up about – you are not a failure if you can’t think positive. Try again or try something else.
Remember… you cannot be positive 100% of the time, that’s not realistic or how it works. The key is to be aware of your negative thinking and to make changes. If that is 60 or 70 % of the time that will make a huge impact on how and what you experience.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could change your thoughts which are on average 80% negative into 80% positive?
If you take up the challenge, let me know in the comments.
If you need support, I provide infertility counselling and women’s health counselling in Gravesend, Kent, face-to-face or online.