As far as I know, all success techniques require a positive focus on the outcome required. All of my blogs here promote the same, and give tips on how to see the validity of that and how to put it into action. My conviction that this is true does not just come from the science. As convincing as that is, there is nothing more convincing than seeing the successes of clients, when they shift from problem focus to solution focus.
However, some people find this advice annoying, discouraging and counterproductive. If they fully accept that this positive thinking is the one and only elusive secret key to achieving their healing or happiness, it is definitely unobtainable, because positive thinking is just not possible for them.
If they create affirmations about what they want, they start an inner dialogue affirming there’s no way that is ever going to happen. If they try imagining what it would be like to live their dream, far from feeling elated, they feel depressed because it is so different from their current life, it is painful to consider. Instead of consistently holding their dream high, it evaporates in seconds, and slips through their fingers.
So there is a barrier to even beginning a positive focus to achieve a goal. If that’s you, that’s OK. You are not alone, and there is a reason for that and a solution too.
Why can’t I hold a positive thought?
This can happen when the conscious and subconscious minds are not on the same page. They must work in harmony. Nothing goes well when there is inner conflict. Your conscious aware self that runs your daily life, making plans and decisions, wants more success or abundance in an area of your life. However, your subconscious mind, which is a database of all your experiences, is storing some negative emotions from past events that are related to that goal.
It is the subconscious mind’s job to keep offering you opportunities to release stuck negative emotions from past events. It wants you to release it and heal, and this is what causes you to obsess about the memory, and the negative emotion that goes with it.
All negative emotions are meant to be temporary and not held onto long after the event is over….
When you perceive a threat to your safety, your primary, protective action is triggered. It is known as the fight or flight response. This is an unconscious instinctive response that will always serve you. The action you take will be rapid and intelligently effective. You might have noticed that when your fight or flight response has been triggered, you dealt with the crisis without feeling fear or anger at the time.
Negative emotions are secondary responses that come after the event is over. They do not provide protection and their purpose is for learning the lessons from the experience. Only when you have learnt what you need will the emotions release and healing be complete.
Letting go of these old emotions will not prevent you from feeling appropriate anger or fear again in the future, if the situation requires it. What it does mean is that new experiences won’t trigger old stuck negative emotions, resulting in an excessive inappropriate level of emotion. Most importantly, it also means that you will be able to hold positive thoughts about future goals without being pulled back into negative thinking.
Negative emotions are good because they tell you when you have been violated. The problem is that when past negative emotions are stored up long after they have served their purpose, they can trigger inappropriate levels of emotion, and you don’t know why. If they are not processed and released they constantly pull you into the negative past and influence your expectations of the present and future. “It went wrong before, so it will go wrong again.”
To clean up our thinking we must clean up our past.
Until you finish processing/healing a negative experience, and release those negative emotions, they will keep resurfacing and sabotaging your efforts. It is the subconscious mind’s job to get you to keep focusing on this event until it is resolved.
In sum, it will always be difficult to focus on a positive future, if you are still carrying emotional baggage at the subconscious level. Your subconscious mind needs healing and is asking for your help. This means your first and most important task is to release all negative emotion from past experiences, before you can expect effortless goal achievement.
All feelings need to be felt until they no longer require to be felt. When an experience is too emotionally painful at the time it happens, it may be repressed or denied as a coping mechanism. It truly is unfinished business. It needs to be acknowledged and felt, any learning taken, and it will then naturally dissipate. You have a natural innate ability to do this and have probably done it many times, but a particularly tough one can get interrupted and does not complete.
Here’s an example of what I mean. A student preparing for his finals had to take an oral exam and give a presentation. Whenever he thought of public speaking, he imagined a gremlin on his shoulder criticising every detail of his performance, feeling acutely embarrassed and wanting to run out of the room.
His earliest memory of feeling like this was when he was a 9 year old in the classroom. He had been day dreaming and looking out of the window when the teacher sharply called his name and told him to stand up and continue reading out loud from where the previous child had stopped. He stood, all eyes were on him, but he was confused and frantically tried to collect his thoughts. The teacher rolled her eyes and said “sit down” and called on another child. As the now adult allowed himself to fully feel the embarrassment, sense of failure and inadequacy from having been made to look and feel such a fool, he realised that he had repressed this feeling as it was too painful to dwell on. He had unwittingly halted the healing process before it was complete. The feeling was still alive and kicking. But it is never too late! By now allowing himself to stay in that old feeling, and contemplate what it meant to him then and now, he realised that fear of public speaking was not a relevant reaction, but he could learn many things, including the value of paying attention! As he stayed with the feeling and let it run its course, it left him. He was able to imagine enjoying a perfect performance and his oral exams went extremely well.
This ‘letting go’ process is simply allowing what wants to happen naturally. However I can already hear many people saying it is absolutely impossible- they have tried everything and it doesn’t work.
When negative emotions from the past won’t go away.
If the letting go process doesn’t work, there is another potential block that does make it seem impossible.
What many people don’t take into account is that they have free will. You are free to choose what to believe and what you do or don’t want in your life. Your subconscious mind will then do everything in its power to move you in the direction you want your life to go in, and to avoid what you don’t want. The conscious mind is the ‘goal setter’, and the subconscious mind is the ‘goal getter’.
It is essential therefore to make a conscious choice about what you want. If you want to get something, you have to make it very clear to your subconscious mind that you want it. If there is a shred of doubt, your ‘go getter’ subconscious mind will block that goal.
Why would anyone block themselves from having good things?
It can easily happen if you have tried hard in the past and it didn’t work, or if you can’t see how it could happen. If your dominant (negative) thought is that it is not available to you, it seems illogical to choose it. It becomes a protective strategy not to choose it, to avoid the ‘inevitable’ disappointment of failure.
It is also possible to buy into the necessity to hold on to the past negative emotion that is still influencing your behaviour.
Take the example of fear experienced in relation to something specific, like a spider phobia. If you believe holding onto the old fear response is protective and ensures you always avoid the feared object, then you will resist releasing the past fear emotion that causes you to run from spiders. But that past fear is a temporary emotion that belongs to the original experience for the purpose of learning. What protected you then if needed, was the fight or flight response, and it will protect you again in the future, together with any positive learning. A permanent irrational level of fear into the future is not required for safety.
Another block to letting go of negative future expectancy, or anxiety, is to say “ I’ve worried about this for so long and it hasn’t happened. What if it’s working and if I stop worrying it will happen!”
The answer is a change in mindset. You are always free to justify and explain the way you feel, which maintains the status quo, or you can talk yourself out of it. You can work to convince yourself that there’s no reason why you can’t have what you want, if you let go of the limitations you have put in your own way. In the case of a phobia you can’t change the feared thing (the spider can’t become pink, fluffy and cute and stop triggering your fear). But you can want and choose to have a less fearful reaction to whatever it is, if that’s what you want.
Remove the blocks and hold a positive thought
If these blocks are sabotaging your ability to hold the positive focus that will motivate you to take the action required to reach your goal, try these healing steps. Change your mind and become unstoppable.
Step 1. Completely clear all remaining negative emotions connected to past experiences. “You’ve got to feel it all, to heal it all, and free yourself from the past ”. Look for any beneficial learning from these experiences that would help you do better in the future. If you can still feel the emotions when you think of the troublesome memory, it means there is more learning there for you. Maybe your original negative reaction was actually a misinterpretation, like the student with the fear of public speaking.
Step 2. If you still can’t hold a positive focus on your goal, make sure you are not rationalising why you can’t or mustn’t let go of the old negative emotion . Talk yourself into giving yourself permission to let go of the past and choose and want that goal. Believe it is available to you. Be 100% committed to working towards your dream, no hesitancy, no doubts, no quitting. Make sure your subconscious mind isn’t getting mixed messages about whether you want your goal or you’re trying to avoid it.
Step 3. With these common blocks removed, you will be able to hold positive thoughts for longer and you will get better with practice. Choose your favourite positive focus success techniques and put your goal setter conscious mind to work.
Of course you may still find yourself considering the ‘what if it goes wrong’ scenarios at times. This will not sabotage your efforts as long as the majority (more then 51%) of your thoughts and feelings are positive about your goal.
To help you maintain this balance, a quick way to erase the effect of a negative imagined experience, and even replace it with a powerful positive effect, is to use the rewind technique. Imagine that you have pressed a rewind button and see in your mind’s eye your negative scene reversing backwards to the beginning. Rewind as many times as needed until the emotion fades. Then replace it with a positive mind’s eye scene of your success experience and find you can feel as good as you would if it is happening now. Replay as often as you like! (If you don’t imagine visually, just use your usual method of imagining – feeling, hearing, pretending etc. It works the same.)
“We need to free ourselves from the past so that we can create the future as we want it.”