This is a guest article by a brilliant inspirational author who is in her 20’s and who in my opinion will ascend to international acclaim in the very near future. You cannot read her powerful writing without being transformed for the better — Lucky
For a girl like me, being positive is not easy. When I think of the world, I tend to see it through a negative perspective, looking for the bad and ignoring the good. But, lately, I’ve discovered that it is possible to change that perspective. Earlier this year I decided that I was going to make a change in my life. I was going to start looking for the good, seeking the positive, and striving to make every day a joyful experience. As you can imagine, this wasn’t an easy task.
It’s been a long road, though, time-wise, it hasn’t been all that long. I’ve had to do a lot to get to where I am right now, and I still believe I have a long way to go. I’m not searching for any particular end point, however. All I want is to be happy, to live a life that focuses more on the good than the bad (though I do believe you need both to have a happy life). On this road, this twisting, turning road to happiness, there have been ups and downs. There have been challenges. There have been inspirations. There have been many amazing experiences that I never would have had if I had not made this first choice, the choice to find happiness.
Lately I’ve given some thought to how I transformed from negative-focused to positive-focused. (Note: I don’t always see the good. Like everyone, I have good days and bad days, but, for the most part, there’s been a BIG shift in my attitude). Though I have to admit that there are many, many factors involved in my personal development, such as my therapist, the countless books and blogs I read, creating my blog, and surrounding myself with happy, supportive people, I can say that the following five steps are the best ways to begin stumbling down that happiness path.
Believe Happiness is a Choice
For me, this was a hard one. I thought that we were either unhappy or we were happy (and I was unhappy). I blamed this on all kinds of outside forces – fate, experiences, parents, relationships – but never really stopped to think that I could choose to be happy. Sure, this isn’t always easy (in fact, for me, it can be very, very hard sometimes), but it is always, always an option. Teaching myself to believe that happiness is a choice has been one of the greatest things I’ve ever done for myself. When I’m in a bad situation now, I know that it’s up to me to find the good, to be happy regardless of what’s happening around me. I am no longer pointing fingers, placing blame. I realize that everything happens how it happens and it’s up to me to choose how I want to feel about it. I am in control of my happiness levels and no one can take that away from me.
Rid Your Life of Negativity
If you want to live a positive, joyful life, you cannot – absolutely CANNOT – be surrounded by negative people who are not encouraging your happiness. Being a negative person, I tended to attract negative people to me. When I decided to make the change to a more positive lifestyle, I had to rid my life of all of the negative people in it. This, as you can imagine, wasn’t easy. Getting rid of people hurts – even when you know they aren’t good for you or your current lifestyle. Not only did I have to get rid of the negative people, but I also had to get rid of the negative things too. I had to stop doing certain things that were causing negativity in my life. I had to take a step back and examine which behaviors were good for me and which were not. I learned to focus on the positive things I was doing and let go of the negative ones. This process was not easy and, to be honest, is still on-going, but I know this: having negativity in your life prevents you from living a truly positive existence.
Look For the Positive in Life
There is positive in everything. In every person, in every situation, there is something good. Most of the time it’s not all that obvious. We have to look. And sometimes we have to look hard. The old me was content to sit back and just glance around. If I saw negative, I went with that feeling. I didn’t want to look harder or think too much about the good. I found it much, much easier to sit back and just accept what I saw (which was usually the bad). Now, when I’m faced with a difficult or challenging situation, I think to myself, “What is good about this?” No matter how terrible the situation might seem, I always can find something good if I take the time to think about it. Everything – good and bad – is a learning experience so, at the very least, you can learn from bad experiences. However, there’s usually more than that. If you take the time to look, you will usually find something good, something really positive, about every person or situation.
Reinforce Positivity in Yourself
Once I started thinking more positively, I realized that I had to reinforce these thoughts and behaviors in myself so that they would stick. As with any sort of training, practice makes perfect, and, yes, you can practice being positive. The best and easiest way to do this is to be positive when it comes to who you are. Tell yourself you’re awesome. Tell yourself you look good. Tell yourself you did an awesome job at work or raising your kids or whatever it is you do. Be honest with yourself, but look for the good. And, whatever you do, don’t focus on the negative. Nothing good can come of telling yourself that your butt’s too big or your latest career goal wasn’t met. It’s okay to not like everything about yourself, but don’t focus on the negative. Remind yourself of the good in you. We all have positive attributes and it’s up to you to remind yourself of them every day.
Share Positivity with Others
Not only do you need to be positive with yourself for this training to really take effect, but you need to be positive with others. You have to share your wealth of positivity with the world. The best way I’ve found to do this is quite simple and basic: be nice. Be nice to other people, no matter what. Tell someone s/he looks nice today. Tell someone they did a great job on that presentation. Tell your parents or children (or both!) how much you love them and how great they are. When someone is feeling down, do what you can to cheer him or her up. Send flowers. Write notes. Don’t gossip. Be kind to all living things. All of these things sound basic enough, but, for someone like me, they didn’t always come easily. I never wanted to see the good in myself and, therefore, didn’t want to see it in others either. I used to be critical and condescending. Now I strive to be encouraging and supportive. I try not only to treat others as I would like to be treated, but also to consider how they would like to be treated. People appreciate positivity and the more you are sharing it with others, the more you are practicing it and reinforcing it within your own life.
When you start feeling like the idea of being a positive person is daunting, think about this: Dani, one of the most negative souls in the world, turned her life around with these five steps and I can too. If anyone had told me a year ago that I would be writing an article about being positive, I would have laughed right in their face. I would have said, “Why in the world would someone want me to writing about positivity?” But here I am, writing the article, believing in these words, and knowing that every single day I am getting closer and closer to living the positive life I’ve secretly dreamed of living. If I can do it, you can do it. Believe in yourself and remember the most important lesson of all…happiness is a choice. Choose happiness.
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