Awakening Goddess: Empowering the Goddess Within

As above, so below, as within, so without - every thing that we desire, and every thing that we fear, exists within us. This blog explores nourishing our dreams, committing to our highest values, and healing ourselves from the inside out: awakening and empowering the Goddess within our bodies, hearts, and lives.

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Positive Thinking for Realists

Some people have the impression that positive thinking is all glitter and rainbows and a river in Egypt.

It’s true that positive means happy, good, and encouraging.  However, positive also means helpful, constructive, and tangible, or real.

For the purposes of this discussion, let’s define the term “positive thinking” as the skills involved in thinking in terms of possibilities in order to problem-solve and reach goals, creating substantive change.  “Negative thinking,” then, is the skill of thinking in terms of limits in order to either keep things as they are, break things down, or remove them altogether.

Neither is absolutely correct nor absolutely wrong.  Before we can make positive change in our lives, we have to free up resources to feed and give form to those changes, which is a negative thinking skill.  Limits in the form of boundaries and parameters help narrow down our choices when too many options leave us overwhelmed.  We need to know what we don’t like.  We need to know what hurts, angers, and scares us, because those feelings alert us to unmet needs and barriers standing between us and contentment.

Negative thinking is a powerful tool when it is used consciously, just like positive thinking.

The key word is consciously.

Empowered people are aware of their thoughts and feelings, and have developed the skills and habits necessary to change their thoughts and feelings at will.

Disempowered people, lacking these skills and habits, allow their surroundings, circumstances, and other people to manipulate what they think and feel.  Most of us grew up disempowered, experiencing oppression from our parents, teachers, peers, from strangers in person and through the media, and now even through social media.  Marketing is the science of manipulating thought and emotion for profit, and there is marketing literally everywhere.

Unless you grew up in the woods without electricity and with parents who treated you with respect and compassion at all times, you grew up being manipulated mentally, emotionally, even physically.  You also have been manipulating others your entire life, having learned those skills at the same time and in the same way you learned to communicate.

Understanding this, you now have the power and the opportunity to change it.  In order to change it, you have build up new knowledge bases and skill sets, including self-awareness, empathy, compassionate communication, and positive thinking.

Negative thinking helps you recognize problems.  Positive thinking helps you recognize and choose solutions.

When I first sat down to write this post, a friend with painful chronic illness asked how positive thinking could help her situation.  Having never suffered from either chronic pain or chronic illness, I drew a blank.

The next day my gums and face started hurting.  I spent the last three weeks suffering from pain in my head, face, and gums, getting it treated, suffering nausea, exhaustion, and pain from the treatment, and now I finally feel well again.  It was just enough torment to remind me how much I respect people who live with chronic pain and illness, and how beyond grateful I feel that I am not one of them.

This is what I observed.

I frequently had negative thoughts crop up: complaints about how I felt, angry thoughts toward the adult and child I live with as well as about America’s crappy healthcare system, fear of the pain never ending or the infection spreading to my brain and killing me before I finished what I came here to do, fear about the loss of income from three weeks of barely being able to work. 

Using self-awareness skills such as being present and checking in with myself, I noticed those thoughts and feelings.  I refused to judge them as wrong or judge myself badly for having them.  Instead, I recognized that I was feeling badly, that I needed more sleep, more water, better nutrition, a quieter environment, and more painkillers.  Not to mention a way to cheer myself up.

The worse my mood, the more I suffered.  The better my mood, the easier I tolerated the unpleasantness.  Feeling better emotionally helped me take better care of myself, behave better towards the people around me, and heal faster than I did when I gave in to the suffering.

While my gums were hurting, I would catch myself thinking about how bad it hurt, and all the other upsetting thoughts that came up.  The more I thought like that, the less energy I had, the more hopeless I felt, the less desire I had to do the things I needed to do to get better.  I knew I needed to turn my thinking around so I could feel and get better more quickly.

One tool I used to turn my thinking around was to think “cancel” after thinking a thought I didn’t want to think, and immediately repeating a few affirmations to myself.  “I am getting better every day.” “This too shall pass.” “I can’t wait to eat solid foods again.  In the meantime, yay frozen yogurt!”

Being in pain, nauseated, and exhausted, I did not have the energy or even the will to meet all of my needs myself, and definitely not all at once.  I asked my son to be quieter. I spent a lot of time in bed, and when I couldn’t sleep I provided myself with pleasant distractions like games, movies, and pleasure reading. 

When I couldn’t sleep or distract myself, I used my self-soothing skills developed from a daily meditation practice.  I focused on breathing slowly and deeply and imagining the peace increasing with every inhalation, and the pain lessening with every exhalation. 

I gave myself Reiki and ThetaHealing whenever I felt up to it.  I asked for and accepted help whenever I could. I used positive thinking skills to re-prioritize my needs moment by moment, asking myself, “What would help most right now?” or “How can I make the best of this?”

Making the best of something doesn’t mean pretending it’s all good.  Sometimes the best still sucks, sucks only slightly less than the other options.  Sometimes there is only one option, and thinking of it as the best feels a tiny bit better than thinking it is the only.  Feeling a tiny bit better is a victory, especially if you’ve suffered a long time or are fighting (or wishing you had the energy to fight) depression.

It's always easier to turn your thoughts and mood around when your most basic needs are met - enough sleep, water, nutrition, a pleasant or neutral environment, and time and space to breathe.

What are your thoughts or questions on this subject?

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Ashley Rae published her first book, a memoir, in 2012, and has been a professional psychic, healer, and teacher since 2003. Ashley's goal in life is to help you empower the divine spark within yourself so that you can love yourself freely, make your life awesome, and make this world a more beautiful, compassionate place. Visit her website to check out her other blog, find out her schedule, book an appointment and register for her classes.


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