Yoga encourages us to set powerful intentions for our practice, use mantras or affirmations to help lift us up, and spread love everywhere we go. It’s the ultimate practice of positivity, but for some yogis, feeling disconnected to such a positive state is something they have to deal with in their practice.

Research has actually shown that positive thinking can be greatly beneficial for those who naturally have higher self-esteem, yet detrimental to those who most need it. Essentially, the path to positivity isn’t necessarily as simple as thinking positive thoughts.

If you’re someone who struggles with positive thinking, perhaps the following ideas will help you grasp it in a more practical way that you can apply to your own yoga practice and your entire life.

Positivity Is Just One of Many Perspectives

Imagine looking through a telescope at the night sky. As you look at the stars, you start to feel very small, insignificant, and even frightened of what might be out there.

Now imagine you look at the same night sky, but through a different telescope. Just by changing telescopes, you instantly feel awe-inspired by the vastness of space and grateful to be part of something so incomprehensibly magnificent.

Being positive in any situation is just like changing telescopes. Many other telescopes may still exist, but what you see depends on which one you’re looking through. Positivity works the same way by shifting your perspective without denying the fact that there are many other perspectives that you can choose to see.

Positivity Gives You the Power to Combine Curiosity With Desire

Positivity has everything to do with our desires. The trouble is, we want to be certain we can get what we desire, which is impossible to do because nobody has the power to control or predict reality.

What most people don’t know is that positivity becomes most powerful when they acknowledge their desires, but then surrender to faith and curiosity. We’re typically so attached to wanting to be certain that our desires can be fulfilled that we don’t even realize our attachment is causing us to feel doubtful, anxious, unconfident, and all sorts of other negative feelings.

Positivity is about desire, but it’s not about being certain. Surrender to curiosity — to  learning and experiencing the journey — while remaining aware of what you want, and that’s all you’ll never need to become more positive.

Positivity Is Better Built from Compassion Rather Than Evidence of Success

You’d think that to be more positive, all you’d have to do is take a look at all the great things about yourself. Your strengths, your past achievements, and everything people admire you for should be enough to help boost your self-esteem and positive thinking, right?

The trouble with bombarding your mind with all the positive aspects of yourself is that it puts the not-so-positive stuff in hiding, even though you know they’re still there. This is why being compassionate toward yourself when you’re scared, when you’ve failed, or when you’re facing difficult challenges is the real key to becoming more positive.

If you can be kind to yourself when you’re not successful or feeling positive, then you’re already on your way to becoming more of a positive thinker. Past achievements and personal strengths to focus on are a nice bonus, but they don’t offer much of a complete solution.

When you really think about it, positivity is really the most natural state you can be in. Real positivity doesn’t lie, it doesn’t hide anything, and its only purpose is to inspire you to cultivate and spread more love in your life.