It can be so hard to always focus on the positive, especially when it feels like the negative prevails relentlessly. Whilst I always seek the positive, I often struggle to not allow the negative to takeover, losing my rationality and thinking the whole world is against me.
It’s the small things that happen, that snowball into one huge, powerful and draining negative. Be it getting a rubbish grade on a piece of coursework you spent hours on, having something stolen, losing something, or putting on a few pounds. We easily forget our hundreds of achievements and positive aspects of our lives, instead focussing on the few negative, generally unimportant aspects.
I’m writing this blog post with the intention of giving myself a reality check, and to hopefully teach myself and others to stop dwelling on the negative, and to simply accept that s*** happens. S*** happens all the time, to everyone and anyone. S*** has no mercy, it has no favourites, it comes in all different forms and extremes. The sooner we realise that its nothing personal, its just part and parcel of life, the sooner we can accept that with the good, sometimes must come the bad. I saw something once that said ‘we need to experience the bad times to appreciate the good’, and I think this is so vital to remember. If things were always ‘perfect’, would we appreciate it? Would we even realise that things were perfect? Or would we still not be satisfied, still finding flaws in our lives and wanting more. I believe it would be the latter, we would never be completely satisfied, because we could always earn a bit more, weigh a bit less, or get a higher grade. What we should instead practice is the acknowledgement and appreciation of what we currently have, rather than what we could have. Finally, Is there even such a thing as perfect? Potentially we could eliminate all desire for perfection all together, since it could be argued there is no such thing. Or is it more simple than that, perhaps the most pure perfection there is life? If we can teach ourselves to believe something along these lines, the small irrelevant aspects of life that don’t go to plan will seem immaterial.
It’s easy to think that when something goes wrong, that we’re the only one to experience something negative, like everyone else in the world has it so perfect and we’re an anomaly. This couldn’t be more wrong. Everyone has to fight their own battles, but everyones battles are different. Not only this but what one might experience and deal with amazingly, another will struggle with, and vice versa. Comparing your life and the way you handle things to others is a negative thing to do. Nothing good comes from comparing yourself to others. We spend our days wishing we had what other people had, instead of appreciating what we do have, have you ever considered that whilst you’ve spent your time wishing you had the life of someone else, another person might be doing the same about your life in comparison to theirs? What would you say to someone if you knew they were doing this? I’m sure you’d probably tell them your life isn’t perfect and that they shouldn’t compare themselves, that their lives are great too, for different reasons. If this applies to you, take your own advice! There will always be someone who appears to have more than you, but dwelling on this will bring you nothing.
I think we can all improve, whether its remaining rational, staying calm, not blaming others and simply moving on.
Letting things go is hard. When we care about something and its taken from us, or things don’t go to plan, its easy to dwell on it and engage in self-pity. But whilst self-pity might seem like the comfortable and appropriate thing to do, ask yourself, what does it achieve? For me, all self-pitying achieves is making myself feel worse. Telling myself that I’ve been served a huge injustice, that I’m so unlucky and my personal favourite ‘nothing goes right for me’. When I look back on all the time I’ve spent feeling sorry for myself and wishing things were different, I just think to myself, I could have used that time actually trying to change what I was upset about. Going over things in your mind, constantly replaying what didn’t go to plan, as opposed to focussing on what did go to plan. This achieves nothing and provides you with no happiness.
Forgive. One of the hardest things for us to do is to forgive, its so easy to dwell and think that one small error of your friends has meant that years of friendship is now void. A lot of the time whatever has happened was unintentional and an accident, to hold it against them brings neither of you anything. Whilst it may have been someone else who has made a mistake, this is done now and was out of your control. To rise above it and forgive is healthy. It shows you are a good person and if the person has intentionally hurt you, will allow them to realise even more so that their mistake really was a mistake. This surely benefits both of you, for you it removes hostility, and for them it allows growth and development.
Acknowledge the small things. As I mentioned earlier, it doesn’t always take one big negative thing to happen to make us feel down, lots of small things can have the same effect. So why don’t we allow the small and frequent positive things to have the adverse effect? I’ve started doing this and it allows me to feel positive even on bad days, because small positive things happen all around us all the time. If you don’t feel like they do, then pay extra attention to things, or create them for yourself, smile at someone, help your friends or family, making someone else feel more positive makes you feel positive too, that way two people win!
Mat got me a book for christmas called ‘The Little Book of Positivity’ and its so great. Not only is it filled with inspiring and motivational stories and quotes, but it gives you ideas on how to live a more positive life. I’d really recommend investing in a self-help or just general positivity book. Reading it means that you properly digest whats being said, you can look back on things and read it over and over, which will hopefully make it more likely to naturally implement into your thinking and become part of your everyday practice!!
Another thing I’ve found so helpful is to keep a diary, a diary gives you a private place to write down how you’ve felt that day, to write down whats irritated you, you can express how you have felt without having to have unnecessary disputes with people. Its also really therapeutic to get things out, by writing things down you have can feel like you have acknowledged whats happened to make you feel a certain way, you’ve expressed its effect on you, and you can put it to bed. Another thing diaries are good for is to write down as many positive or good things that happened to you that day. If you’ve had a rubbish day, you can write down all the negative things that you’ve felt, and end it on a high by taking a moment to appreciate what went well, its not all bad. As I’ve said previously, its easy to remember only the negatives, even amongst an abundance of positives.
Obviously I’m aware that hind sight is a great thing, and its easy for me to write as if I never struggle with negativity, but generally trying to refer back to these thoughts and rationale in times of negativity, works to hold yourself accountable and to make small changes to the way we handle situations. Such changes have the potential to become second nature.
This blog post isn’t implying that we should ignore all ‘negatives’, but instead to have a different view of them. I think it is good to remember the bad days, to further appreciate the good. Remember a time where you pulled yourself back up from something terrible, the control you practiced over yourself and your emotions, allow that to empower you to do the same again. After this take some time to reflect on the personal achievement you have made. I must say that whenever I have a down day/week/time, when I overcome it, I feel even better, because I have seen an improvement of how things are. We have no complete control over what happens in our lives, but we do have control over how we respond to the things out of our control.
Whilst this blog post was to hopefully get you thinking about ways in which you can improve how we handle things, this isn’t to say that if you do find yourself upset over something small, or you get caught up over something you later think you shouldn’t have, that is fine too. No one can be positive all the time, and to constantly force yourself to be positive I don’t think is healthy, but to attempt to strike a healthy balance between positivity, rationality and being realistic, you’re already half-way there. We’re all works in progress, but as long as we’re making the effort to take advantage of the beautiful lives we live, we should be proud of where we stand right now!
Thanks for checking in, I hope you found this helpful.
Until next time,
(I hope you all have a positive one)