Hey Athena, what a beautiful name
yes absolutely and don't let anyone tell you other wise. Yet, what I like to do, and I have a lot of experience with this from working with a neural re-wiring program, is to question where the thoughts are coming from. In A Course in Miracles and a lot of similar teachings, basically, your thoughts are either coming from Love (who you really are) or fear (ego).
So, if you are replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts, take notice of how it feels. I tried to enforce affirmations for a while, and I didn't truly believe subconsciously what the affirmations were saying, because vibrationally, it was too far away from where I was. And I felt like I was just trying to force something to work and it didn't feel REAL. Same thing with visualizing. When I try/tried to force a visualization in order to get somewhere, it never felt real. When I did it with ease, it flowed. This is why positive thinking only works from a space of openness and alignment within the space of who you really are. It comes through surrender.
An easier method for me was first to recognize (have awareness) for what was there. What I have found so liberating is being able to recognize when I am lost in a limited story and understand why that story is there. Ahh, that was just an old belief system I took on early in life to keep me safe. Thank you, but we are safe now, and we can create something different. In that recognition, I can see that this was just an old perspective; an old belief that I took on that no longer serves me. With compassion, I can simply re-enforce to my subconscious that I don't need to believe that anymore, and instead, what feels MORE true? In other words, let me give you an example of what has not worked and what has worked.
This has NOT worked for me:
Old belief-I am alone, disconnected and cut off. I need love from other people and things to complete me.
New belief-I am perfect and whole and complete.
As you can see, I tried to enforce this new belief above and realized it simply wasn't sticking. It just didn't feel real enough for what was already playing in my subconscious for multiple decades because as WW says above, I already had massive momentum running from other thoughts. So, instead of trying to enforce new beliefs as in......(negative wrong, positive good), I have realized that trusting was my biggest issue. So this is what IS working for me:
Old Belief-I am alone, disconnected, and cut off. I need love from other people and things to complete me.
New "perspective'-What if I truly experientially move into this space of openness, completely let go, surrender, and ALLOW and trust that I am ALWAYS being guided by the higher part of myself. Let my experience prove it to me. What if every perceived negative experience was always a gateway into something miraculous and magnificent that my limited mind cannot even possibly comprehend because it simply wasn't designed to. So, every time my limited mind finds fault with my experience, it's always because it believes we are only this body/mind, and therefore, we are trapped, limited and alone, rather than seeing that even in the depths of being stuck in shit, I can choose to have faith in a larger perspective that will allow me immense inner peace right NOW, and with that inner peace, I can actually hear the guidance that is speaking to me, which I could not hear when I was trying to figure everything out from the ego mind.
As you can see, rather than just trying to affirm new thoughts, this new perspective above is far more expansive, and experientially 'real' to me. It's resistance/fear which is where the ego is always operating from, because it's scared and trying to protect you. While it is opennes and expansiveness, which is where YOU really reside. I hope this makes sense. I'd be glad to clarify on more if you'd like.