THE BLOG
01/30/2015 11:06 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Why Positive Thinking Doesn't Always Work

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I often hear "think positive and everything will work out." We may tell ourselves to think positive and say lots of positive affirmations and yes, sometimes this positive attitude does in fact create an energy that will bring us to the next right place. However, if we are not in tune with what our subconscious beliefs are, we will find ourselves spinning in circles and continue to create the same unwanted results over and over again.

Attempting to just think positive can keep us feeling like we are stuck in a spin cycle because under these thoughts and happy demeanor, something is lurking around in the dark and until we are willing to shine a bright light on it, it will continue to direct our lives. This "something" is called our Ego. It is the voice that hangs out in our head and sends us messages all day long. The truth is our Ego is a wonderful part of us and without it we wouldn't be able to live out this glorious human experience. What is also true is that when left unchecked, it can lead us down a path where we can find ourselves asking, "How the heck did I end up here?" I like to think that when we ask this powerful question, our ego has done its job well. It means we just might be ready to commit to taking a deep dive within and discover all that our soul is really calling forth in us.

So what does this little guy sound like? Since mine feels masculine, I'm going to refer to it as a "he." Yours may feel different, but what's really important is that you become very familiar with what yours is telling you. The first thing to know is that he's loud, persistent and very repetitive. He will compare us to the world and tell us we are too fat, too skinny, too short, too tall, too stupid or too smart. He might tell us that we must try hard to be the best or not try at all. He might tell us to out shine everyone or that it's safer to stay small and fit in so that we don't shine at all. He may tell us to shut our mouth when we know we really want to speak up or to speak up when it's really best to be silent. He will keep us experiencing scarcity because we aren't worthy or he may tell us to make lots of money because only then will we finally feel good enough. He keeps us in jobs and relationships that drain our life force. He tells us we can't have what we really want so it's better to settle for what is in front of us. He tells us we will never be good enough so we give up before we even try or he may even tell us that we are fine just the way we are and so there is never any need for growth and learning. Oh, yes, he's a sneaky little fella. He keeps us pointing the finger outward and makes everyone else wrong so we never have to look within. He convinces us that we are the problem and that we will never "get it right." He tells us that once we get "there" we will be happy. If we could just find our soul mate, get married, have children, buy that house or get that next big break then all will be well.

It is the voice that always speaks loudest. It is demanding and righteous and believes what it wants to believe all in an effort to keep us feeling safe, small, comfortable, important, protected etc. He keeps us playing the role of the victim. He keeps us standing on the sidelines of life rather than playing life full out. He attempts to keep us from knowing and fulfilling our dharma.

Because he has been in the driver's seat for so long, it is impossible to slap positive thinking over him and pretend that he doesn't exist. It just doesn't work. This is like asking someone who just broke a leg to stand up and walk. We must take the time to look at the wound and heal it properly before we can stand tall again. The same applies to our mind. We must take the time to identify our limited thoughts and beliefs and see them for what they are, tend to the wounds and heal by turning inward. We must give ourselves the love that is already within us instead of attempting to go out and "get it" from outside sources and addictions.

So how do we begin to actually do this?

First and foremost... it is important to know that we already have all we need within us to bring these limiting thoughts out of the dark corners of our mind and shine a light on them. The intention is never to "get rid" of them. The intention is to get to know them, befriend them, accept, love and integrate them in a way that empowers us. How do I know this for sure? I couldn't write in this manner if I didn't have a daily practice of loving and accepting my ego thought patterns. He just wouldn't allow me to do so. The key is that we learn how to get behind the wheel and begin to guide the Ego rather than allowing the Ego to guide us.

The following are three powerful steps to embracing your Ego so that you can step into the driver's seat of your life.

Step 1 -- Want Change More Than Anything Else. We must have a deep willingness to take responsibility for who we are from the inside out. We must commit to observing and paying close attention to the messages that our Ego is telling us. Ignoring and denying that they are there is what keeps them stuck in a repetitive pattern. The more we are willing to hear these messages and face them head on, the more we come to see that we don't actually have to believe in them. The ego's messages are never true. We believe they are true because we are familiar with them. They make us feel comfortable and they have become our identity. Who would we be without them? That is a question that creates a lot of uncertainty and that is exactly the door that we want to open if we wish to create real change. We don't have to know that answer immediately, but we do have to be willing to notice and question our thoughts rather than continue to buy into them. If you are unsure if they are egoic thought patterns, just continue to check in with your feelings. When we are in a low energetic state, you can be sure your ego is doing some serious talking. This low vibrational state exists because we are buying into thought patterns that aren't serving us. These thoughts are not who we are. They are old stories that may have once protected us and served us in our past, but today continue to sabotage us and keep us from living fully in the present. We must have the knowing that these old stories can be transmuted.

Step 2 -- Forgive your Thinking. When you notice your egoic thought patterns, repeat this affirmation. "I see you. I hear you. I forgive you. I release you." A simple phrase can create powerful shifts in our awareness. Forgiving our thinking means continuously forgiving ourselves for having these thoughts. It means accepting, embracing and loving our thoughts rather than denying them, making them wrong and criticizing them. It means fully owning all of what we are thinking and feeling in every moment and knowing that we have a choice to either beat ourselves up over it or to forgive and release these patterns. Forgiveness opens the doorway to conscious choice and helps us to see that we get to choose if we want to keep a feeling, thought, or behavior or if we want to release it.

Step 3 -- Love the Ego. Loving our Ego means accepting it for all that it is. We must treat it with respect. We must nurture it, see it, listen to it, converse with it, and question it. The more we engage with it, honor it and love it, the more room the voice of our truth has room to come forward and guide us. The voice of our truth will naturally send us affirmations that will uplift, inspire and encourage us on our path. We won't need to force or make up affirmations in our mind in order to feel good. We will already feel good from embracing and loving our "negative" mind.

Committing to these steps opens the doorway to our natural intuition. Affirming "positive" thoughts must come natural and works best when we are already in alignment with knowing that we are enough not when we are striving to get to a place of feeling like we are enough. The way to reach this place of alignment, clarity and truth is to love and embrace ALL of who we, are especially the parts of us that are hiding and we most resist looking at. That is the sweet spot and where the real miracles happen.