Someone asked me about a situation that didn’t work out the way I wanted it to. Wasn’t I disappointed about the end result?  Did I use my positive thinking? Now, did I finally get that positive thinking isn’t all it’s cracked up to be?  Whew!

She’s right.  I’m disappointed.  I put a lot of effort into this situation and it’s clearly not going the way I’d hoped.

I’ve got a habit (bad or good?) of thinking that my positive outlook will affect what happens in my life.  And, that’s partly true.  But more true is that positive thinking is really just a mindset.  It’s a way of using thoughts to move us forward. It’s not a cure-all.

Yet, despite my love of “positive thinking” there are some things that positive thinking won’t help with:

You can’t use positive thinking to deny your fears or to ignore realityI’m good at this denial-thing.  This is my mantra: “If I think bad thoughts, bad things will happen.”  See me sticking my ostrich head into the sand and ignoring instead of facing “it?” Rather, I should be saying,“No matter what happens, it’ll be OK.”

You can’t use positive thinking to cover up your real feelings. Again, my flaw comes in handy here!  Sometimes I put on my happy face even when I’m not happy, thinking it will solve the problem.  We’ve got to face our feelings and experience them.  Positive thinking should not be a mask (Jessica, are you listening??).

You can’t expect that positivity will make everything smooth in life. Life is full of obstacles.  Sure, I’m bummed that something didn’t work out the way I planned.  But, if I’m looking for solutions and facing my fears, then I won’t be focused on the obstacles. Positive thinking doesn’t remove obstacles – it allows us to see past them and focus on what we should be working on … ourselves!

Positive thinking won’t help if you don’t know what you want.  I’ve got a habit of ambivalence.  This isn’t in every area of my life, just one in particular.  It’s really fear (if I’m going to be totally honest with you).  If we’re not clear about what we want, nothing is going to happen.  Know what you want and go for it – even if you don’t feel 100% positive regarding the outcome.

You can’t only be happy if things happen exactly as you want them to. If something doesn’t work exactly as I want, that doesn’t mean my positive thinking didn’t work.  Maybe it means that something else might happen that’s better than I originally thought. I’ve got to let go of the, “It didn’t work out as I planned” and instead say “It didn’t work. Now what’s in store for me?!”

Positive thinking is a tool, not a magic wand. Use it that way and even when it doesn’t work out as we hope, we’ll be able to see other doors opening up right in front of our eyes.

Have a wonderful Monday!