Wishing My Life Away – Why Negative Thinking Sabotages Your Happiness

Over the past month, I have become aware of the number of times I have caught myself saying things like, “I wish it wasn’t snowing” or “I wish this wouldn’t take so long” or “I wish I didn’t have to work today” — and many other “wishes.”

In fact, I have become so aware of my thinking that I realized I spend an awful lot of time wishing things were different than they are. Why is that? And what has this negative thinking done to my experience of life?

Life On Autopilot

In the past, I would not have been so conscious of my thoughts. I would have automatically followed my thoughts through. For example, as I wished it weren’t snowing, I’d start feeling negative emotions about it being cold outside, not being able to go for a walk, feeling “shut in” or feeling down because it was not sunny. At this point, I’d be so immersed in negative thoughts, that I’d miss any potential of positive things. And I wouldn’t even know I was doing it! Pretty soon, I’d feel down, maybe even depressed. Not just because of a little snow, but because of all the wishing I had been doing all day – all filling my mind with negative thoughts and emotions. I’d wonder why I was feeling so bad.

Following Thoughts

I actually point out to myself that I am doing the wishing thing again…
At this point in my recovery, I feel so different – so much happier. And as I have been reflecting on what makes this possible, I keep noticing what I am doing with my mind. I am actually noticing these thoughts as soon as they crop up. Instead of following them down a path of negativity, I take that moment to really recognize what I’m doing. I actually hear the thought, like a voice in my head :), and stop the thought for a moment – almost like interrupting a conversation. At that point, I can question myself – and I actually point out to myself that I am doing the wishing thing again. This allows me to look at my situation more objectively. Seeing my current situation, I realize that it’s not “bad”, but for some reason, I had an idea of what would be “good” or perfect in my mind. Any situation that was less than ideal in my mind would set me off to wishing it were different than what it was.

Resisting What Is

Remember how I’ve shared Eckhart Tolle’s words in other posts? He says – any time we resist what is (want something to be different than our current situation), we suffer. In other words, sadness is created when we wish things are different than what they are. What astounded me was the sheer extent to which I was doing this in my life. On my recent trip, I caught myself wishing so much, it felt like every hour! As you know, travel creates plenty of situations where we could wish things were going better than they actually do. In this way, had I not been catching myself, I could have missed out on the actual perfection of the situation itself.

Missing Out On Life

For example, if I didn’t have that major problem with our tickets, I wouldn’t have gotten to practice self-care in a tough situation (and be successful!) and I wouldn’t have gotten to see the incredible kindness others showed to us. Both of these were proof that these concepts I’ve been working on really work! Seeing this proof is very important to me because it helps me trust myself and my new skills more and more. With trust, comes a strengthened commitment toward being aware of my thoughts and choosing positive thinking. With commitment comes the creation of new habits.

We believe in the magic of wishes
And that’s what this wishing away really is, isn’t it? It’s a habit I created – and have probably been doing since I was a child. Wishing things were different is probably how I coped with things not going the way I wanted them to. As a child, we read a lot of stories about wishes – and genies granting wishes. We believe in the magic of wishes. So what’s the difference between wishing and creating what you want through power of mind?

Wishing Away Takes Power Away

Wishing something were different than what it is takes away your power. For me, it filled my mind with negative thoughts. Using the power of my mind to create what I want in my life is different, because it implies accepting where I am today – and trusting that I have the power to create what I want in my life. When I start from a place of acceptance, I can work from there to take action toward what I choose for myself. This doesn’t mean that life won’t throw things into my path that seem like challenges, however. I see the challenges as opportunities for me to stay present and aware – and use my thoughts to serve me in reaching my goals. Rather than becoming immersed in a “woe is me” line of thinking.

Here’s a story I learned somewhere, although I don’t remember the source:

An alien comes to Earth to observe the intelligence of different species. The alien first observes a baby hippo. The baby hippo can walk, feed itself, swim and take care of most of it’s needs. The alien then observes a baby human. The baby human can’t do anything for itself and needs the care of an adult to be fed, clothed and cared for. In fact, the baby human couldn’t even rescue itself if there was a fire. The alien goes back to its planet and tells everyone that the hippo is more advanced than the human based on the observation of the baby hippo seeming more advanced.

In fact, scientists have found that the less advanced something is at birth, the more advanced something is as its life progresses. What we learn from this story is that we can observe something and make what seems like educated conclusions, without realizing that there is so much more we don’t know that could influence our conclusions.

Blessings In Disguise

The same is true with observing a life situation. We might see something as “bad” and later realize it’s a blessing in disguise. Has that ever happened to you? At the same time, something we think is really “good” when it happens, may end up being less than ideal.

So how do we really know, when something happens – if it will end up being a good thing or a bad thing? Just because of the way it seems or feels to us in the moment it’s happening, how do we really know what it will bring into our lives? My biggest example is this eating disorder. If I hadn’t had it, and overcome it, would I feel as happy about life as I do right now? Or would I be walking through life on autopilot, wishing for some exciting future, like many people without addictions describe they do.

Eating Disorders As An Awakening

This eating disorder and it’s resultant complications made my life so unbearable, that I felt compelled to change my life around in order to transcend it. And in doing so, I am amazed to find that I have a joy for life that I’ve never felt before. How could I call bulimia a bad thing, when I can experience life the way I do today? Wishing everything away is a form of non-acceptance. The more I got into the habit of non-acceptance, the more I resisted life in general. The more I resisted, the more depressed, victimized and powerless I felt to control my life. The less I trusted. Empowerment comes from acceptance. Where are you finding yourself wishing?

Your Actions

  • Become aware of your thoughts throughout the day.
  • Do you find yourself wishing things are different than they are?
  • What are the circumstances where you wish things away?
  • Experiment with accepting the situation. What happens?
  • Write the answers in your journal – what patterns or lessons are there?
  • What can you commit to in order to change this habit?
  • Create a plan of action.
  • Check in periodically to see how you are doing.
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As a coach, writer and recovered former executive, I understand the challenges of creating a balanced, healthy lifestyle when over-scheduled. In my journey to radiant health, I created a whole health system of eating, exercise, renewal and recharging -- a roadmap toward health & vitality. I empower clients to create their own whole health systems, in their own unique ways. I have seen amazing results in working with my clients!