As I explained, another obstacle to positive thinking is feeling like it is not possible. Coincidentally, I just watched Alice in Wonderland.
One of the first quotes-
“It is impossible if you think it is so” became the premise for the movie.
Know it is possible
The quote, “I believe 6 impossible things before breakfast.” came from the book Through the Looking Glass:
…Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said: “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. There goes the shawl again!”
(Through the Looking Glass, p. 153)
In this quote the queen instantly deconstructs this belief and brings forth ‘personal agency’. (Personal agency is the idea that we are an agent in our life, rather than mere passive recipients to what happens to us. That we can act in response to our experiences and this can give the experience different meaning.) When we don’t feel something is possible, it is important, like the queen to first, deconstruct this belief and second, connect with our agency in the situation.
Moreover, believing the healing we seek is not possible, can limit us from healing. I operate under the assumption that anyone can heal from anything. Nothing is incurable, because no problems are permanent. Life and our experiences are constantly changing; the way we make meaning around something makes all of the difference. If we think it is not possible, it will not be possible. So it follows: that we need to know it is possible for it to be possible.
So, how do we open ourselves up to believing it is possible to feel better, if it has been so long since we have felt OK? This is a good question. I first wonder where the belief came from in the first place. There is always a history to beliefs like this and learning about this can give us some useful information. I asked one person, “Where does thinking you won’t get better come from?” And they answered: “The Anxiety tells me I’ll feel like this forever.” I ask, “Does it tell you why you’ll feel like this forever?” “No”. “Can you ask it why?” Nothing! No embodiment of this belief. “Do you believe Anxiety, if it cannot tell you why you have to or should believe it?” She replied that she never thought of it like that. This question gave her the difference to think from a different perspective.
Think from a different perspective
Also, I find it very interesting that people may not feel they can get better, but still take steps to try. This may seem feudal at first glance, but it tells me something more. I had this conversation yesterday with a teenager: I asked her: “Why bother coming to see me, if you don’t think you can get better?” Why indeed. We unpack it together and found she did have a smidgeon of hope that she could get better. Like the queen suggests, a smidgeon can grow if we ‘practice’ it. I am going to practice thinking about 6 seemingly-impossible-but-actually-possible-things before breakfast every day. I’ll let you know what happens.
Another way for people to embrace a possibility is to have a community of folks around us who believes in it. If people around us rally around this possibility, it assists us in holding onto it. If parents have confidence that their children can get better, it has a huge effect on their actual progress. Aboriginals from Australia refer to what they call Divine Oneness. Our spirits and our minds are connected to each other and to everything.