Chances are, most of us have heard about the “power of positive thinking”. When a friend or loved one is going through a difficult time, we might say “I’m sending you good thoughts” or even something about “good vibes” or “putting good out into the universe.” In the absence of anything concrete we can do, we place our faith in the oft-discussed power of positive thinking.
But I think it’s worth considering what we really mean by that: what our intentions or expectations are and how positive thinking truly gets its power. Speaking for myself, do I actually think the power of my thoughts has the ability to shape objective reality—that it can heal another person’s illness, create a job opportunity where before there wasn’t one, or retrieve a lost object? No. As comforting as it would be to believe that I could exert that kind of control over the world around me, the truth is I can’t. I’m not a superhero (yet—but if anyone knows of any radioactive spiders hanging around, hit me up).
For me, the real power in positive thinking lies in the words that accompany those thoughts. While it’s certainly nice, it isn’t enough just to think good thoughts for someone; it’s verbalizing and sharing those thoughts that makes the real difference. Our thoughts, when combined with words and attention, can have a tremendous affect, if not on the world itself, then certainly on people’s state of mind.
You may not be able to shape the universe using only your mind, but telling someone you’re thinking about them, that you sympathize with them, and that if they want to, they can come to you and you’ll listen? That’s stronger than any superpower.