Can you expect to think negative thoughts about yourself, your spouse, and your situation and expect to be happy?
No, that’s not possible.
But is all negative thinking bad? Believe it or not, there are some positive benefits of negative thinking.
Negative thinking is a lot like knee pain. Many times, knee pain is purely negative. But sometimes it indicates a bigger, treatable issue such as muscle dysfunction in the legs originating at the hip or the knee.
When I was a personal trainer and clients would come in with this pain, my staff and I would say, “That’s a good thing.” The clients would look at us strangely and ask, “How can pain in my knee be a good thing?” We would respond by reassuring them that we were catching it early and there are a few easy methods to resolve the issue. And if those methods failed, we’d know it was time to refer them to an orthopedist. But regardless of the outcome, the sign of pain was always good—it was a first alert.
The same with negative thoughts. We all have them—some of us more than others. In fact, there are certain personalities who are critical and skeptical by nature. But regardless of whether your negative thoughts come from your temperament or circumstances, it’s important to acknowledge and address them.
That’s because negative thinking can lead to toxic thinking. Once your thinking goes from negative to toxic, it becomes more difficult to handle—like untreated knee pain.
Negative thoughts can fester when they are kept in the deep recesses of your mind. Pain can be a sign that something is wrong. Anger can be a sign of deeper issues. Sadness can be a sign of loss. That’s why it’s important to have healthy people to talk to (not people who will fuel your negativity). Talk to a friend, mentor, or counselor and get it out in the open.
An otherwise cheerful person can turn into the Hulk when put under too much pressure. The trigger may be different for each person. If you are normally an optimistic, cheerful person who is now struggling with negative thinking, consider your workload—it may be putting you on overload.
I know we’re supposed to be Christ-like in our giving but God also gave us unique temperaments. As such, we each have unique needs. If you are sacrificing your needs for the sake of others, it will develop into resentment, which in my book is pretty negative thinking.
Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not encouraging negative thoughts. The bible tells us in Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
While I don’t want you to allow negative thoughts to run rampant in your mind, I do want you to have the right perspective when it comes to your negative thinking. What are your negative thoughts telling you?
If you want to know how your negative thinking is impacting your life and happiness, take my FREE “How Toxic Are Your Thoughts” Assessment.