How often have you heard someone talking about the need to possess a more healthy positive attitude? It is a subject that is being implemented by many but there are some who only use "positivity" for certain subjects or certain things. I understand the need to discuss issues and circumstances that cause less than positive outcomes, but there are some who do this without being proactive. They do not come up with solutions pertaining to how they can fix the issue or how to deal with their personal demons but consistently try to make others responsible. Some will make disparaging comments about race, gender identity or something that does not have relevance to their lives. How about not saying anything at all that presents a negative?
On the other hand, there are those who cannot forget the one thing that happened and not talk about it, which may affect them in different ways. I understand if you do not feel safe or if you were hurt or a crime was committed. Some because of the hurt may attack others regularly or speak in negative or angry tones to others. However, maybe it is not a good idea to continually talk about it angrily. My advice is to seek professional help. There is nothing wrong with taking care of yourself mentally.
Optimism is necessary in today's society. I eliminate the things I find depressing, like most reality television shows and drama filled talk shows. I have enough to worry about without absorbing bad behavior, lavish spending and people with bad attitudes.
Watching the news can be equally as depressing. Watching war, brutality and crime constantly is a sure way to harden your stance on any subject. We begin to protect ourselves from hurt and danger, sometimes it comes out through our attitude even if the situation does not warrant it.
There are certain things I have been asking myself over the past two years that I think about when I am feeling negative. Is there something that you could do to change the outcome of the way you feel? Are you being introspective and looking inside yourself to see if you are a part of the problem?
Being honest about your role in a circumstance brings a sense of peace as well. Are you making an effort and not just ignoring the issue? Quite possibly, you may be projecting negatives on other people and just may not be aware of it. It is an odd space when you do not know if telling a person that they are offensive, will not be the end of your relationship.
If either party begins to behave in a manner that is contrary to how they were behaving before, it may make both parties even more uncomfortable.
Here are five of things that I think may helpful while on the road to peace an positivity:
1. Always be respectful of others opinions. It is good to have open dialogue even though you do not agree, it does not mean that you should have a negative response. Just say, "While I do not agree, your perspective is noted." If it is offensive to you, just say, "I find that offensive."
Each person has had the chance express both sides of how they feel. Some people may not even be aware that what they are saying is offensive. You may not be aware of what you are saying is offensive. If you are the offender, evaluate how you are treating people. Negativity can grow in places that we are accustomed to. It becomes such the norm that it a part of the daily functioning.
2. Affirm that you love yourself. No matter what you are going through, weight loss, loss of an important person in your life, stress or what ever the issue might be, talking to yourself is a good way erase negative thoughts.
I sometimes leave sticky notes for myself with positive words, log on to the social media page of someone who is positive or when I am driving I may look in the rear view mirror and tell myself that I am having a spectacular day. I can choose to at least try and erase some of the self doubt.
You should be the first one in line to congratulate, compliment and acknowledge yourself. Others input should just be bonus points.
3. Under some circumstances, a situation that is too negative may be the one that you should step away from. When that happens, I sometimes say, "I am sorry you feel that way."
4. There are some people who use their free speech to malign others. It can be pretty negative but if you are not attacking, a lesson may be learned. You may not agree with the delivery of the statements, which happens a lot on social media, but you can inbox the person and gently tell them that there are more productive ways to communicate specific issues you have regarding a person you do not like.
5. Be a role model and consistently speak positivity in your life. Even with the best of intentions we sometimes fall short. If you keep it up soon enough you will feel more genuine in your assessment of how you are feeling. Yes, I said be a role model to yourself. It is important that we bolster our own self confidence.
There are some people who you think may overdo it. However, you do not know what their experience is. They may be battling demons of self doubt or abuse from childhood.
Being negative is a soul sucker. Always step back and take a breather. So what if someone comments negatively about your weight and you have lost 10 pounds. Maybe you have not lost the weight but you feel good and you are healthy.
Interestingly enough a few days after writing this article I saw a post on facebook from Bethany Maria Holloway, it read:
“Someone (nameless) made a comment about how I'm not perfect and gestured towards my muffin top. I didn't get mad, actually felt a wonderful new sensation. I answered, "No, I'm not perfect but my warm, freshly baked, tasty, muffin top IS perfect. Perfectly soft and part of me that may or may not always be there." SO many other things about me are far from perfect, but as long as I'm okay with my mid section, I couldn't care less what the hell anyone else thinks. And as a matter of fact, looking back, as a super skinny girl, I don't really remember being a happier person than I am now.”
I agree with Bethany. So what if someone says negative things about going to talk to a counselor or how you look. A response of positive affirmations is the best way to go. A weak person is stuck in their ways and does not provide themselves room to grow. You can respond in various ways including negative ones but choose the high road. Empower yourself to be able to impart knowledge without wasting precious energy. As they say, life is too short.
This was printed in the June 14, 2015 - June 27, 2015 edition.