Why do we think negatively when we know better?
“If I expect the worst, I am pleasantly surprised when something turns out well.”
Such an approach to life situations, is modus operandi for some members of my family.
I do get why people do get into the habit. I used to do this myself.
Some don’t like to get their hopes up and experience disappointment. They would rather enjoy the pleasant surprise when everything works out well. Sounds plausible and positive, but is it good for our mental health?
Is this a productive way of thinking – in that it supports us in dealing with our daily issues?
If you do this, does it work for you?
You might even be a “prepper.”
Not the kind that are preparing for the apocalypse, but those folk that prepare for the worst-case scenario, exploring alternatives, or problem-solving the task or situation at hand in order to understand everything that can go wrong, so they can handle it better, when or if, it does go pear-shaped.
In preparing for the worst-case scenario, they feel they begin to process their own grief reaction to crises or adverse circumstances in their life.
Thinking negatively, expecting “the worst,” seeing the downside of positive situations, and even downright expecting failure, all convey a kind of backwards-thinking, emotional insurance policy.Marc and Angel
When things work out well, people use this mental strategy to feel good about the uncontrollable nature of life.
They are innately rewarded unconsciously for this way of thinking.
This leads them to use this technique to deal with life again and again. Then it becomes entrenched as a habitual response. A habit like this can be extremely hard to shift.
I used to think more often in the negative, thinking I was preparing for unfavourable outcomes. I would worry about things, trying to process them, and by so doing felt I would be better prepared for the worst of the worst outcomes, if that eventuated. In the meantime, was I setting myself up for a self-fulfilling prophecy?
Sometimes, as foolish as it sounds, we’d rather be right about our negative predictions than have a positive outcome prove us wrong. And since negative thinking leads to negative actions, or no action at all in many cases, by thinking negatively we create a self-fulfilling prediction for ourselves that confirms that we were right about the circumstance all along.
In other words, we think negatively, predict a negative outcome, act negatively, and then receive a negative outcome that fulfils our prediction. Of course, none of this is what we truly want or need in our lives.Marc and Angel
It seems that our desire to want to be right, or feel in control of the changeable nature and vagaries of life is one reason why we subconsciously choose this negative strategy, through no fault of our own.
In fact, whatever it is we are seeking will rarely ever come in the form we’re expecting, but that doesn’t make it any less wonderful.
Choose to ignore negative thoughts because they do not support you but do not feel guilty if this is not easy or achievable.
Life can be good even if it isn’t perfect. Too many people miss a silver lining because they’re expecting pure gold. Life can be good even if it isn’t perfect.
Positive thinking isn’t about expecting the best to always happen, but accepting that whatever happens, is the best, for the moment.
Someday, the negative voice inside you will have nothing left to say.