There’s a rather insidious idea floating around spiritual, new age, and witchcraft communities that is doing you and your witchcraft absolutely no favors. It’s popular for people to think that in order to be a good witch or a spiritual person, you have to avoid negative thinking and emotions entirely. The logic behind this idea makes sense. I mean, if we’re manifesting magic with our thoughts shouldn’t we avoid manifesting negatively?
Wouldn’t our negative thoughts, our worries, and our nasty emotions manifest just as easily as our positive ones? And besides, it’s not like negativity feels good. Why wouldn’t we want to get rid of these thoughts? Convincing people to swear off negative thinking is a pretty easy sell, but it’s a trap and today I’m going to tell you why.
The Law Of Attraction
To start this discussion off, we’re going to need to take a look at the source of this idea. This militant avoidance of negativity has its roots in the law of attraction. This law states that energy attracts its like. The energy that you hold and focus on is the energy you will get more of. If you focus on how loved you feel, you will attract more love. If you feel abundant, you will find yourself living in abundance. Plenty of people perform spells using this principle. The problem comes when we apply this idea to negative thinking.
If you focus on how broke you are, will you attract more financial troubles? According to the law of attraction, yes you will. It’s easy to see why this would lead people to try to avoid negative focus and while this can work in some instances, trying to implement this idea as a blanket policy leads to problems. Not the least of which is a disturbing trend of victim-blaming within our communities.
When someone in a magical community has some misfortune befall them, often they’re met with sympathy to their face but I’ve heard more than my fair share of whispers behind peoples backs about how they “manifested their own pain”. Whether it be cancer, a cheating partner, financial trouble, or something else entirely, somehow people find a way to blame this person for energetically attracting their own suffering. Even in instances where it is true, this kind of holier than thou victim-blaming is toxic. It destroys any space that the victim may have found for healing and growth within their community and ensures that they will feel unsupported, alone, and ashamed. This is not what spiritual communities are for! We should be supporting and loving each other through our misfortunes and mistakes, not using our knowledge of universal powers to feel superior to others.
Add to that the fact that banal negativity is far less powerful than positive emotion. While yes, it is entirely possible to attract shitty things into your life, it takes a HUGE amount more focus to do so than it does positive focus. More than likely, if you’re attracting unwanted things in your life, it’s not the conscious negative thoughts that are causing the unwanted situation, it’s the beliefs that you hold in your subconscious that are presenting a much larger amount of energy without you even being aware of it. And in the pursuit of rewriting these beliefs, your negative thoughts are actually clues helping you to uncover those subconscious patterns.
Adding Fuel To The Fire
Even if we ignore the fact that this concept causes discord in our communities, trying to get rid of your negative thinking patterns can actually do the exact opposite of what you intend. Why? Because when you resist something, you give it energy. The very act of trying to rid yourself of negative thoughts and emotions gives those thoughts and emotions more power. You’re only adding fuel to the fire by focusing your attention on trying to never be negative. Remember the example above where we discussed how focusing on being broke will only lead to more financial trouble? The same rule applies here. If you’re constantly focusing on how much you’re trying not to be negative, you’re only going to end up with more negative thoughts, and they’re probably going to be negative thoughts about how bad you feel that you can’t get rid of your negative thoughts.
As if all of that wasn’t enough, we literally cannot get rid of all negative thoughts. It’s just not possible. You’re fighting a battle against your own base nature and when you do that, you will always lose. Besides, negative thinking is actually a GOOD thing in many cases!
Your Negative Thoughts Are Actually Good!
1. Negative thoughts alert you to your own emotions and energetic blockages that are keeping you from getting what you want
I touched on this above but it bears repeating. Your negative thoughts are a way for your subconscious mind and your body to communicate with you. Trying to get rid of them is like putting a piece of tape over the blinking “check engine” light in your car. It does absolutely nothing to solve the underlying problem and only allows the issue to continue worsening unchecked while you continue on in blissful ignorance. Eventually, that little blinking light will turn into an all-out mechanical meltdown leaving you stranded, crashed in a ditch, or worse.
Instead, you need to view your negative thinking as a valuable source of insight into the inner workings of your subconscious mind. Journal about these thoughts, try to discover the root cause of them and remember, all negative thoughts are trying to protect you from something. Whether it’s your poor body image misguidedly trying to protect you from rejection or your anxiety trying to protect you from worst-case scenario dangers, these thoughts exist for a reason. And that reason is almost always to protect you from some perceived danger. Try to identify what your thoughts are protecting you from and you gain huge insight into what’s going on in your subconscious.
2. Embracing negative thoughts means you are being more fully authentic to yourself and thus, embracing your own power
As witches, we’re here to take control of our circumstances and create the lives we want. In order to do this, we must become acquainted with our most authentic selves, peel back the masks that the world asks us to wear, and discover who we really are so that we can know exactly what will make us truly happy. Negative thoughts are a part of who you are. You may not like them much, but accepting and learning to work with them is paramount if you ever want to see your authentic self and reach your fullest potential as a witch. Claiming full ownership of yourself is one of the most powerful things you can do as a witch. Stop rejecting this part of yourself because the world has labeled it “bad” and use it to your advantage.
3. Negative thoughts and feelings are a road map to your ideal life
Negative thinking is always a reaction to what is not wanted. While this may be uncomfortable in the moment, it is actually an extremely useful tool. We can only know what we do want by identifying those things that we do not want. In this way, negative thinking gives you a flashing neon sign pointing you in the direction of your truest desires. Witchcraft is about taking control back and creating the life you want, right? Negative thoughts give you a clear direction to move in to achieve that goal, allowing you to hone your will and move forward with purpose.
How To Deal With Negative Thoughts
Ok, so getting rid of all negative thinking isn’t the answer. What CAN we do about negative thoughts then? Do we just let them run rampant and sour our moods forever?
Thankfully, this is not the only option. For many of us, our negative thoughts can be so severe that they become disordered and we present with mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, and dissociation. These things should absolutely not be ignored! Instead, people with any severity of negative thinking can take steps to make the best use of their thoughts while moving toward improved happiness, health, and personal growth.
Step 1: Get comfortable with the idea that you and your thoughts are two separate things.
If you’re new to this idea, then it can take a bit of time to get comfortable with it so if it doesn’t sink in immediately, just give it time.
You are not your thoughts. Rather, your thoughts are something that happen within your mind and you are observing them. Learning to recognize this separation between the self and thought is key to long-term emotional stability and happiness.
Mindfulness meditation is extremely helpful in learning to recognize this dual nature within the self. To perform mindfulness meditation, you simply need to find some quiet space and a few minutes to meditate. Sit and focus on your breath. Thoughts will come up in your mind as you do this, this is ok. All you have to do is detach yourself when you notice that you’re getting distracted by the thought and go back to focusing on your breath. You don’t have to force the thought out of your head. Just refocus your attention on your breathing. When you’re first beginning, start with very short sessions, as little as 1-3 minutes. As you progress and get better at separating your focus from your thoughts, you can extend the amount of time that you practice this meditation. And please remember, this is a practice! If you feel like you’re not very good at it, it’s ok. You do not have to be good at it, you simply need to show up for the practice and focus on improving in whatever small ways you can.
Step 2: Recognize that your feelings are valid but that being valid doesn’t make them true.
Remember how I said that all of your negative thoughts were trying to protect you from something? Well, they are. And you should appreciate them for that! They are performing a vital function that is designed to keep you alive. That said, no matter how well-intentioned these thoughts are, that doesn’t necessarily make them true. Recognizing that your negative thoughts are valid but still being critical of whether they’re true gives you an incredible amount of control.
For example, you may realize that your subconscious is trying to protect you from the pain of failure by giving you test anxiety, but that does not mean that this fear is well founded. Take a moment to dispel this fear, look at how much work you put into studying, call up thoughts of tests that you’ve done well on, and realize that in the grand scheme of things one test is not the end of the world. Thank the negative thought for trying to keep you safe and then go smash that test.
Step 3: Use these thoughts to get in touch with what’s happening in your subconscious mind
Your negative thoughts are a direct lifeline to your subconscious mind. You can use these thoughts to tell you what your subconscious mind is really getting up to. For example, if you struggle with negative self-talk, your subconscious mind might be trying to ensure that you fix perceived flaws so that you don’t risk rejection from those around you. This tells you that your subconscious sees rejection as a threat to your survival. You now have an opportunity to dig into that perception and find out what caused your mind to become fixated on this as a threat. You can look at events that might have made you scared of rejection, such as your parents being unhappy when you acted out, to partners expressing dislike for something about you, to the way your boss treats you and your work.
Negative thoughts don’t have to be something that you endure or something that you try your hardest to reject. They can be a useful tool in your pursuit of magical control over your life, happiness, and growth. You simply have to be willing to work with them and be kinder to yourself in the process.