Why you should substitute positive thinking for radical acceptance

November 7

Why you should substitute positive thinking for radical acceptance.  

We have been conditioned to believe that ‘positive thinking‘ is the best way to remove negative thoughts. I am going to show you why you should instead substitute positive thinking for radical acceptance. 

For example, you have had a difficult day at work, your mind is overthinking ‘I totally messed up that meeting today’ and you feel an uncomfortable knot in your stomach. Or you get a new job and you are constantly thinking that ‘they must have recruited the wrong person’ and spend time thinking you are a fraud. 

You try your best you pull yourself out of this situation by saying positive things to yourself like:

  • ‘It wasn’t that bad’
  • ‘’you did a great job’
  • ‘no one will care’
  • ‘Just stop thinking about it’. 

However, we know these tactics do not work because the negative continues to persist. You cannot remove negative thoughts. 

Ask yourself, has positive thinking ever removed negative thoughts from your life? If like 100% of people I know, no.

That is because the mind works by addition, not subtraction. Adding positive thoughts onto negative thoughts does not remove negative thoughts. It can lead them to grow and linger for longer. 

We have learnt that saying statements like:

  • ‘Come on, you can do this’.
  • ‘You have got this, stop worrying about what people think’.
  • ‘Believe in yourself, think positive thoughts.’

Will remove the thought:

  • ‘What if I look stupid when I give my opinion in this meeting?’.

But it doesn’t, the thought stubbornly sticks around. You just use more unneeded energy adding more thinking to it.

If positive thinking fails to remove uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, what is the alternative?

There is an approach.  The approach is substituting positive thinking for radical acceptance.

Radical acceptance is based on the idea that suffering does not come from the pain itself but your attachment to the pain. 

It is not the thought and feeling of ‘I totally messed up the meeting today‘ that causes suffering, it is because you are trying to get rid of the thought with positive thinking that causes suffering. 

Radical acceptance works with the practice of accepting situations, thoughts, and feelings for what they are, without judgement. After all, the mind produces stories and thoughts outside of your control, so they are not going anywhere, anytime soon. 

Here are some techniques you can try to practice radical acceptance. 

  • When you are feeling deeply uncomfortable emotions, practice deep breathing exercises. 
  • Notice the thoughts your mind is experiencing and rather than identifying yourself as being the thought, remind yourself you are the awareness of them. You are not your thoughts. 
  • Remind yourself that thoughts, feelings and emotions in those moments are happening outside of your control. Accept this with no judgement. 
  • Feel what you are feeling and observe what you are thinking. Life is difficult and full of challenges, when we accept that, we struggle and move on from them more quickly. 
  • Emotions and feelings always pass when you allow them through acceptance. 
  • Choose to move on with a committed action that will serve you at that moment. The act of ‘doing’ behaviour will help you move on. Thinking and thinking will cause more suffering.

Practising once will not create lasting change. Practice this every day. It is consistency and persistency that creates the structural neural pathways in the brain that builds lasting change.

Imposter Syndrome Community Challenge – join now!

If you feel like a fraud, avoid speaking up in meetings in case you sound stupid or constantly put off doing that one thing in case you ‘get found out’, I have an exciting opportunity for you. 

I am running the first-ever online imposter syndrome community challenge. It is a 28-day challenge to help you use techniques, like radical acceptance, to overcome the struggle with imposter syndrome. 

What do you get inside the community challenge?

  • A private community platform that is dedicated specifically to overcoming imposter syndrome.
  • Guidance with questions, prompts, videos and resources to help you tackle your struggle with feeling like a fraud.
  • Meet new like-minded women who are striving for the same results.
  • A practical approach that gets you taking action.
  • Get buddied up with accountability partners.
  • Special guest appearance in week 4 who will share their story and insights in overcoming imposter syndrome.

It starts on Monday 15 November. It is free to join. All you need to do is fill out a short form below and you will receive a link to join the group this Friday!


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