Question: Hi Luise: My mom has positive thinking statements for everything. And my Dad, well, he preaches deliverance from negative thinking by telling me that I am going to become a bad person if I keep thinking bad thoughts. I feel they are both totally in denial about the fact that life isn’t always wonderful and there is a lot to fear. I do think bad thoughts. I worry and that’s bad, according to both of them. It’s a fact that I might not graduate from college. And it’s possible that my boyfriend is seeing someone else. I worry that I might get cancer. Does this really make me a bad person, or am I just a little more aware that bad things do happen? I sure would like your take on this. You seem pretty level headed. I would enjoy knowing what you think, whether it’s positive, negative, or something in between. Amy
Answer: Dear Amy: This is a difficult subject because often our thoughts just pop up, don’t they? And sometimes trying to focus on canned positive thoughts just makes us feel phoney. We also all have different wiring. Some of us are natural worriers and others of us are complacent to a fault. What works for your parents may not quite be your cup of tea.
I know of a place where you can avoid a great deal of the conflict you are describing, and that is in the present. If you focus on enjoying each day of college and giving it your best, the future will take care of itself. And your boyfriend is a good choice unless he lets you know at a later date that he isn’t. The same applies to your health. We have to focus someplace, so why not bring yourself into your now, and live it to the fullest?
The past can’t be changed. We can learn a lot from it, if we are willing to…but it’s done to all intents and purposes. The future will unfold and the truth is that it will unfold best if you constantly build a positive present as a foundation for it to rest on. Fears don’t support what you most want. You’re not being bad but focusing on them can give them a life of their own. Why live in negative “what ifs”? What’s the point?
So, why not consider creating daily positive thoughts that specifically apply to you instead of worrisome ones? Like, “Hey, I sure am enjoying college right now” or “What a great guy”… or “Gee, I’m feeling great!” Make up your own way to look at life that is just what you mentioned above, something in between the pie in the sky stuff and doom and gloom. You don’t need to call your attitude “positive thinking statements”…you can call it enjoying the present and learning to lighten up. Blessings, Luise