So, you’re trying to amp up your attitude. Your self-help guru told you to use positive thinking, right? Post an encouraging affirmation on your social media, they say. You may be confused between what you like the most: hanging out or posting that you hung out. Want to change your life? Just repeat these uplifting affirmations and all your uneasiness will magically disappear. Or will it? You say: I am beautiful. You say: I will be financially successful. And your mind immediately reminds you that you feel unattractive and unprofitable.

Sadly, we cannot simply whitewash our self-consciousness or lack of confidence. While harping on negative thoughts can become toxic, sugar-coating emotions can serve denial or be a temporary fix at best.

Y’all know that humor is my favorite coping mechanism. Laughter alleviates pressure and has therapeutic effects. You can sprinkle it all over your everyday challenges. No matter what language we speak, we all smile and laugh the same, my friends.

Don’t let one episode of your life ruin your entire show, please. In order for affirmations to actually “work,” they have to feel authentic to you. You only receive what you believe. When you find yourself indulging negative thoughts during the day, try the healing power of a believable, encouraging statement. Breathe deeply and say it aloud.

You say you feel broken. Well, broken crayons can still color. If your core belief is that you are not truly worthy, simply repeating a mantra that you do not believe may backfire. What are some of the thoughts that keep you jammed up and do not serve a single useful purpose for you?

Empower yourself by giving yourself permission to feel what you feel. Say: “It’s okay for me to feel sad, disappointed, or even angry about this.” Listen, if I had no emotions, I don’t know how I’d feel about it. Then again, regret is a useless emotion. I wish I’d known that a long time ago.

But, sincerely, imagine yourself coping and ask yourself: “How can I best deal with this challenge?” Strengthen yourself by problem-solving instead of indulging your defeatist thoughts.

How often have you been told: “Look on the bright side.” You tried looking on the bright side of life, and it hurt your eyes? No need to disavow or disown your feelings. Transform your sensitiveness into strength.

Instead of mentally beating yourself up, get to work on your “To do” list. Ask yourself: How would I handle this if I was my most poised and positive self? Don’t forget that you are always developing, evolving, and creating your future self, sweet friends. Stick all that negativity into a backpack and then take it off, please. Much of what weighs you down may not be yours to carry.

Social media is swamped and submerged with cheerfulness and encouragement. Forcing your chin up can sometimes make you glaze over what is going on inside of you on the deepest level.

We must take stock of ourselves – the good, the bad, and the ugly – in order to motivate us to improve.

This does not mean we ought to focus on drawbacks or the downside. Simply give yourself time to examine and explore some of your gloom-ridden emotions. If you are armed with self-awareness, you can make the changes you so desperately need.

Not every decision you made worked out right. Listen, I’m pretty sure I only need one more bad decision, and I’ll own the whole set. Okay, so you’re pretty good at bad decisions? The truth is that sometimes good people make bad decisions. Let it go, please. Then again, it also helps you appreciate the satisfying and superb aspects of your life that much more, doesn’t it?

Give yourself permission to reflect and review so that you can work toward a solution for the future. Do not pressure yourself to be perennially positive. You are a multi-faceted human being, after all. Denying your feelings of anger or sadness can not only cause depression but physical ailments. So, keep working out, too. I know, I’m also sick and tired of food having calories. You know walking into a room and then forgetting why I am here is my daily cardio. What’s yours?

Positives and negatives can both be of benefit to us in different ways, sweet friends. So, play close, but detached, attention to all your feelings. After all, they can be your best teachers.

Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at