Should we not think negatively?
No, we should not think negatively. However, the problem is multifaceted and deserves some elaboration. Most importantly, we need to understand the meaning of “should” in this context.
Below I share the insight I’ve gained as a habitual negative thinker and a person who has meditated for many years.
Why are negative thoughts bad?
Negative thoughts are not useful at all. Negative thoughts lead to negative actions, poor choices, and a miserable life in general.
Furthermore, and even more importantly, negative thoughts are against the flow of nature and the expression of your true inner being. Thus, holding onto negative thoughts will inevitably bring about consequences to your life that are incongruent with your true expression. Since a life lived in congruence with your true expression is the most valuable thing in the world, negative thinking should be avoided.
Why do we think negative thoughts?
Almost all people think negative thoughts. I remember reading a study which estimated that people think up to 60,000 thoughts daily of which 85 percent are negative. Although I’m sure there are individual variations, these numbers surely ring true to me and my experience as a negative thinker.
The cause of our negative thought patterns is the inferiority complex which is deeply rooted within our mind. We all have this inferiority complex to a bigger or smaller degree. I’m not sure exactly why this is, but it seems to be something that every human is born with. The inferiority complex is like a thought mass within, that tells us that we are not good enough and do not deserve to be loved. It makes us view life in a negative light and we constantly struggle – consciously or unconsciously – to appease these thoughts and feelings of inferiority. Through this internal struggle we produce and accumulate even more negativity within our mind.
The negative minds express themselves in different ways. The inner voice telling us that we are not worthy of love and not good enough as human beings is very painful to deal with, so we try to alleviate this pain by judging, comparing, hating, competing, blaming others, and pitying ourselves. Depending on the maturity of our mind, we might believe that such strategies serve a purpose and are effective in remedying the underlying pain. However, they are not. They are just cover-ups.
We can’t stop thinking negatively
Unfortunately, there isn’t any way for us to just snap our fingers and immediately stop our negative thoughts. It doesn’t work like that. Negativity can’t be stopped by concentrating our thoughts, pushing them away or forcefully looking at life from the “bright side”.
This is why it’s important not to misunderstand the word “should”. That we “shouldn’t” think negatively does not mean that we should force ourselves to think positively or not to think at all. Such measures only add to the burden and produce even more negativity. The real meaning of the sentiment that we shouldn’t think negatively is that we must implement a routine that is effective in rooting out the negativity from our mind.
The solution is acceptance and meditation
The solution to a negative thinking problem is to get rid of the inferiority complex which gives birth to the negative thoughts.
The first step is to be brutally honest with ourselves. Due to the pain produced by the inferiority complex, we have never been really honest with ourselves. Instead, we’ve tried to avoid our pain by rationalizing our thoughts and actions, come up with excuses and blame others. Now is the time to stop that.
In order to truly see the negativity, we need to allow it to come up within. The key here is acceptance of ourselves. Start by telling yourself that it is ok to think negatively; I am a negative person and that is fine! Confess and admit everything that is shameful and dark about yourself. Don’t rationalize any of your thoughts or feelings. You can write it down or speak it out to yourself. Admitting our weaknesses like this works like magic and takes a lot of weight off of our shoulders. It starts a process of release inside, which is the beginning of liberation from negativity.
Secondly, start to meditate. Meditation is a powerful tool for looking within and see what minds we harbor inside. Meditation gives us an effective way of introspecting and rooting up and discarding the inferior feelings within our mind. The meditation allows us to both throw away the inferiority we have accumulated during our life time as well as such inferiority that we have inherited from our ancestors. (Yes, we inherit a lot of minds through DNA from our ancestors. In my case, I have a lot of the same inferiority complex as my father has.)
The meaning of a positive mind
As we meditate, the amount of negative thoughts will gradually become less. It happens automatically and effortlessly, like fog disappearing when the sun rises. Our mind naturally returns to it’s original and true form, which is that of existence itself. This is a thoughtless place, and when our mind resides here we naturally act and live our true purpose and expression. This is self-realization and life in its truest form as it was intended. And this is the reason why we shouldn’t think negative thoughts.