Positive Thinking Is Hard

I used to be a hardcore pessimist. The kind who had a hard time believing in the good in anyone, the kind that could find the morbidity in the most joyous of moments, and the kind who was convinced that if you prepare yourself for the worst which is always bound to happen–you’re better off in life. I was a real treat to be around, the real life of the party!

I’ll be the first to admit that level of pessimism comes from a deep-rooted personal misery that can be a challenge to overcome. Misery does love its company and for a good while I was hell-bent in bringing everyone down in the blackhole I had setup camp in.

Eventually, through lots of hard work, the extreme pessimism faded and I hated everything less and less as I matured emotionally (and in age). I now refer to myself as more of a realist. Not quite the person who will always tell you when you’re bleeding profusely that “everything is going to be okay!,” and equally not the person who will tell you “welp, it’s been good knowing you…but you’re probably gonna die.”

But, old habits die hard. My 31 year old neuron pathways default to the negative pretty automatically when faced with a decision/situation. And so, I must very intentionally exercise positive thinking. Here are some examples:

  • What if my quality of life suffersimproves?
  • What if people are disrespectful? kind?
  • This is going to be a waste of my timean interesting experience. 
  • I’m not going to like this and I’ll be miserable! okay!
  • I’m not mentally strong enough to handle change. I am…

A self-fulfilling prophecy is a concept that is most often defined as an outcome that causes itself to become true due to positive feedback between belief and behavior.

So, if there’s some belief that self-fulfilling prophecies can happen…is it possible that the act of quite literally striking through the negative can be a powerful and intentional way of driving more positive experiences?


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