My mom has given me a lot of advice and wisdom throughout the years, but one phrase has been consistent and completely embedded in my mind, “It is so much easier to be negative; it takes strength to be positive.”
I am not an optimist, though some would accuse me of being one. Nor am I a pessimist, though others accuse me of that. I’m a realist, and not in the way that is the common belief – a realist is secretly a pessimist. No. When I see it realistic to be optimistic, then I will be, and when I see it realistic to be pessimistic, then I also will be. But either way I see things, I always believe in hope and the will of people to endure.
I also believe in positive reinforcement, and the skill to learn how to change your thinking to be more positive. Positive reinforcement is beneficial in the workplace, among friends, and for parenting. Everyone loves to feel good, and it is more of an incentive to strive for a good feeling than to run from a bad feeling. Positive reinforcement helps build confidence and raise self-esteem. Also, having a positive attitude is generally associated with being happier.
I think the benefits of being positive are mostly common knowledge, but the problem is that it’s very hard to be positive sometimes. I’ve looked at different articles that help cultivate positivity, but the advice I’ve found isn’t always very easy to follow. In an article from Mental Health America, it is advised to write about a positive future and search for the silver lining. Great advice, but what happens when it becomes too difficult to do these things, or when we don’t believe there is any good in a situation?
Meditation Expert and International speaker Pragito Dove from the Huffington Post has some different advice. She says, “We cannot change the reflection, but we can change the original (ourselves), and then, automatically, the reflection changes.” To see the world in a positive light, we must first see ourselves that way.
Why is that if you put two people in the same situation, one can come out better for it while the other one crumbles? Because the situation isn’t what controls us, like I think too many believe. It’s the way we see the situation. If you focus on the all the negativity in your life, it will consume you. But if you have the strength and the hope to search for something good, to believe you can achieve something better, already you’re on your way to making your life better.
I can’t give you advice on how to be positive, because it has to come within you. But I do believe it starts with valuing yourself and believing you deserve goodness. Equally important, you must value others and believe they deserve goodness. Give compliments and love freely. Hug those you care about or who just need a hug. Most importantly, just be silent and listen.
The best way I’ve found to stay positive is when you listen to other people and hear their stories. Search for the hope in their stories, and keep updated with what unfolds. People like to share about the tragedies in their lives, but that’s not the end of the story. If you keep listening, and wait, you’ll see the miracles that can happen. You’ll realize you aren’t alone, and if you have a compassionate heart that wants to help, then I say you have some strength already.
As a last thought: When you are involved in something greater than yourself, all the bad things in your life don’t seem so important anymore. Be involved in something good. Be involved in someone else’s life, someone who you really care about.