Do you ever feel trying to be positive is more like one step forward and two or more steps back? There is a good reason you feel this way.

You may believe you’re obligated to be positive 24/7; and that if you were, everything about your life you don’t like would shift to what you want. And, you’ve likely discovered that “Fake it till you make it” doesn’t work. It may even make you feel worse.

TRYING to be positive causes you to dwell on this as something you SHOULD be when you aren’t. Underneath your efforts is hidden the fact that trying causes you to practice the opposite—without realizing it.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at this. Let’s parallel the energy expression we call reality to water. And, let’s parallel our emotionally-charged thoughts to objects of various sizes and weights. Negative is heavy, positive is light. Drop something heavy enough into a certain amount of water and it sinks. Lighter objects always rise to the surface.

When you focus on the negative, you add more weight to what has your attention and you go down, down, down—near or to the bottom of your ability to express energy, creativity, and vitality on your behalf. This includes judging What Is as negative rather than looking at What Is and asking questions like, What opportunities exist here? There are always numerous inner and outer opportunities waiting for you to find them and make use of them. When you do, your energy gets lighter and you rise to the surface—you rise to the occasion.

The reason we follow the path of negative thought when something happens (or just “because”) is because of a habit we subconsciously believe is effective. It runs something like this: Something happens (or doesn’t). You feel upset, and your level of upset matches the level of severity YOU assign to what’s happened or is going on. By habit, you slip into judgment rather than assessment.

You start first by subconsciously looking for filed programs that match the current one as closely as possible. Like a high-speed recording—moving so fast you don’t even realize it’s running—you replay past voices and memories, starting earlier than you consciously recall and moving forward, until the moment you’re in. Certain statements or memories stand out, and they do so because one of your habits is to look for the right judgment that fits. When you find statements that match how harshly you believe you have to judge yourself, in relation to what’s happening, you’ll pluck them from the rushing stream of thoughts and repeat them to yourself. If you admonish and punish yourself, you’ll do and be better. How’s this worked so far?

What happens is you don’t use your own “eyes,” heart, mind, spirit, experience, or wisdom to look at What Is. You allow in the thoughts, perceptions, and judgments of others—it’s a habit, a bad one; and you aren’t alone in falling back on it. How many of your habitual mental behavior patterns are really yours, or belong to others?

Once you’ve selected the “appropriate” judgments from others regarding how you “should” feel and respond, you add your own to these. As someone who travels the personal development path, you compound this by judging yourself based on where you think you “should” be, instead of allowing yourself to go there. You add weight to the situation by imposing some or a great deal of negativity to it. From the Talmud: “When you add to the truth, you subtract from it.”

How often do we experience something and NOT add our weighted perceptions to it? This is a habit shared by many. When we add negativity, we subtract from the Truth of who we really are, what we’re capable of, and the fact there is a “bigger picture” than the one we see (and judge). This includes judging ourselves if we aren’t positive 24/7, or if we try to convince ourselves we’re positive when we aren’t.

You can’t convince your conscious self to be positive when opposite judgments are running in your subconscious. Neither does it work to add more negativity into the mix. What works is simple—not necessarily easy, but simple: Use the power you have and are to connect with a feeling from a memory that moves you to feel genuine appreciation about something, until you ARE in a state of appreciation.

If you’ve practiced negative thinking long-term, you may have to start with releasing judgment about this before you move into deliberately choosing positive thoughts. When you feel negative, ask yourself if it’s understandable that you do. It is, isn’t it? If it’s understandable, you don’t need to judge it, do you? But neither do you need to stew in it.

You can’t get into a positive state by judging your negative feelings. It won’t work to say, “I HAVE to get or be positive!” Instead, ask, “How can I raise my energy, even a bit, right now? If I can raise it, will I?” Small shifts have positive effects.

Practice makes progress.
© Joyce Shafer

You are welcome to use this article in your newsletter or on your blog/website as long as you use my complete bio with it.

Author's Bio: 

Joyce Shafer ( is a Life Coach, author of I Don’t Want to be Your Guru, but I Have Something to Say & other books/e-books, and publisher of a free weekly online newsletter that connects people with information, resources, and others aligned with enhancing and expanding spiritual Truth in their personal and business lives. Receive a free PDF of How to Have What You REALLY Want when you subscribe at