Sunday, 12 April 2015

Finding the positive when negativity is taking centre stage.

The world is a wonderful, beautiful place, it honestly is. But I definitely didn’t always see it like that and if you don’t either, I can totally see why. There’s so much going on in our world today that could make it seem daunting, unbearable and just plain dark. Aside from the bigger stuff like y’know corruption, disaster and tragedy all the time, there’s pressure coming at us from all directions. It ain’t always so rosy in our world today; we’ve got pressure to succeed, pressure to find our feet, to become financially independent, to look a certain way - to basically get our life together and do it with style.


Actually trying to list the negatives is quite easy. Even if we look externally, we have social media bringing the news to us almost immediately and how often is it just bad news that we’re being bombarded with? Couple that news with a break up, job loss or a particularly rainy Monday morning traffic jam to a job we hate and we can feel at a complete loss for joy, right?


With the world we live in, negativity can seep into our minds and get pretty comfortable. There’s nearly a culture of it in some areas of our lives; complaining or bitchy chatter is practically a second language to some, if we’re not moaning about something have we anything else to say? People bond over common enemies instead of common passions. Even the days of the week can be looked at with dread, poor Monday getting an awful rap weekly, it’s as though Friday is the only day anyone actually wants to see. Is that how we want to be living – seeing the joy in only one day a week?

Regardless how much life had to offer me in the past, I still managed to be fluent in negativity and this made my outlook fairly bleak. Even in seemingly positive situations, I could twist them into a negative and allow doubt or fear suck any positivity right out of them. It’s not a skill that serves any real purpose so now, my view couldn’t be more different. Thinking creates our perspective and thoughts can always be changed. It’s about making that choice to seek out the good and doing it as much as possible.

From experience I can say that actively seeking the positive in every situation is way more fruitful and satisfying than living in the negative. As Shane Koyzcan says in his Instructions for a Bad Day -

‘Love and hate are beasts, and the one that grows is the one you feed’. We’ve got to start fuelling the love for life, the love for the joy it can bring and it’ll only keep growing. How can we do that? Well…


1. Look for the little things


The little things add up, they really do. Whether it’s pleasant conversation, a sweet message, a great cup of coffee, or even awkward elevator chats - all of these things can take us out of our heads and allow happier thoughts to slip in. It can be natural to let these things go unnoticed and look at the dreary bigger picture or be too focused on what’s next. So, be present in those little moments and they’ll provide a lift for us later on. Little anchors can serve as reminders to be positive too like jewellery, a song, a quote or picture that makes us smile. However small they are, these are significant building blocks to a positive state of mind.


2. Be grateful. 

Gratitude is repeatedly linked to a joyful life. I know for me, I’ve read countless articles about it and been like ‘yeah great idea’ and then done nothing with it. But now I practice it and realise that it needs to be an active practice daily. Be grateful for as much as you can think of. If something is bringing you down, find the good in it somehow. There is always something to be thankful for. Start small and write down what you’re grateful for even if it’s just the pen and paper you’re writing with.


3. Say ‘At Least’. 

The world could be falling down around us, but we can still choose to find a positive. At least we’re still standing. The language we use is key and noticing how we use it can help us to begin to change. Turn ‘cant’s’ into ‘can’s and ‘have to’ into ‘want to’. Becoming aware of how we speak about our life might wake us up a little to how we’re contributing to any negativity in it.


4. Stop Complaining

Change the record, or just throw that one as far away as possible. Seriously, complaining is draining. It doesn’t help or change things, it just drags us down. And when you start practicing the tips above, you might realise that your complaints are kind of insignificant anyway when there’s so much to be appreciative of. What you focus on grows so if your hot topic of conversation is negativity, guess what, your outlook simply isn’t going to be so positive.

5. Allow Joy. 

Ever been afraid to get excited in case of disappointment? Or afraid to try in case of failure? Afraid to love in case of heartbreak? Trying to protect ourselves from uncomfortable emotions often means we don’t allow ourselves fully feel the good ones. It takes vulnerability to commit to excitement and risk disappointment. Embracing vulnerability allows us to really feel joy and positive emotions. Even if they don’t last and realistically, they won’t last forever, but to allow yourself feel at all is better than staying in a semi-satisfied state.

6. Take control and empower yourself

No matter how bad life seems, you are not stuck nor helpless nor resigned to living like this. You are not a victim of your circumstance unless you choose to be. Speak up and ask for change. Realise that there are always options, and go find out what choices you have. We can become convinced that we’re unlucky or bad things just keep happening or we can take control and create good things in our lives. Instead of settling for discontent, why not pave our own way out of it? Getting familiar with sadness or grief can make the alternative seem scary because even if it’s uncomfortable, we are in some sort of comfort zone. But as we know, life begins outside our comfort zone.

Life will throw curveballs, it won’t be a walk in the park and there will be days where we just want to curl up in bed and tell the world to f* off. But if we get ourselves in a strong position of positivity, none of that will keep us down. That’s not to say we’ll never be sad or struggling but to realise that we can triumph over these times. There’s enough negativity out there already, why not start to be the sunshine in that darkness and your rays of positivity can become the ‘little things’ in someone else’s life.

After all, when you change the way you look at things the things you look at change.


2 comments:

  1. This is such a good article. It embraces all the simple little and achievable changes we need in our lives. Changes that we ourselves can make. Thank you.

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