Baby Steps To Focusing On The Positive
It’s easy to get into a cycle of complaining and focusing on the negative. If you ever look at someone who always seems so happy and upbeat, don’t feel jealous of her. Don’t feel like she’s just lucky to be like that. That isn’t luck. That person puts in the work to have that outlook. She makes an effort to do and say things that not only emit positivity in the world, but also attract positivity back to her. To say that positive, happy people are lucky is a cop out—sorry to say it—because you always have the power and the option to be that way, too. Being negative is easy. Being critical is easy. Finding the bad in every situation is a breeze and, to be quite frank, lazy. It’s also a form of being ungrateful. If you’re focusing on the negative then you aren’t giving thanks for all the positive things—of which there are probably many—in your life. Obviously, a complete change of mindset doesn’t happen overnight. Here are baby steps to focusing on the positive.
When you’re in a restaurant
Maybe your habit in a restaurant is to think that the table is too close to the kitchen, that the server got this one detail in your order wrong, or that the 7pm slot would have been less busy than this 6pm reservation—but the 6pm is all they had, just your bad luck, huh?
You’re lucky to dine out
Next time you’re at a restaurant, think about the fact that you’re lucky to dine out. That means you have some disposable income. Maybe it means that you have friends to have meals with. You live in a country where women can go to restaurants unaccompanied by a male escort and still feel safe. You get to try a new food, on this precious day of life, that you’ve never had before. You get to leave a smile and a tip for a server who had has a rough day.
When work is crazy
Sometimes work just slams you. You have to be in early every day and stay late every night for weeks. You’re answering work emails on the weekends. You feel you can’t come up for air. You think it’s unfair—why can’t you have a job that feels like easy street, like some other people you know?
You’re fortunate to be employed
Don’t forget that you could be unemployed. Sure, you’re going through a particularly hectic few weeks here, but you could be experiencing months of unemployment, and total uncertainty over whether you’ll ever have a job again. A lot of people out there are going through that. You’re not. Be grateful.
When you’re a little tired
When you feel a little less than great—maybe you didn’t sleep enough, have a headache, or feel too sluggish to hit the gym—you may focus on the negative sensations you are feeling in your body.
You’re still in overall good health
To have a headache and a little fatigue is not a big deal. Remember that there are individuals who can never look forward to exercising again. They are bedridden or in wheelchairs. Remember there are individuals for whom a headache is part of a chronic and perhaps fatal condition—you just have a little tension headache. If overall, you’re in excellent health, that’s priceless.
When your parents are critical
Your parents always have something to say about your life. You should work in a different industry. You should be making more money. Your boyfriend isn’t right for you. It can infuriate you.
Some parents don’t even care
Keep in mind that your parents only criticize because they care. They’re biologically pre-disposed to constantly look for ways to improve your life. They probably don’t think your life is bad—they’ll just always want more for you no matter what. Some peoples’ parents don’t even care. That’s sad. Be grateful someone cares enough to criticize you.
When you can’t afford a big luxury
You can’t go on the cruise your friends are taking in Greece. You can’t go to the Jay-Z and Beyonce concert. These tickets are upwards of $500, and even $1000. You sit at home, grumpy that you can’t afford these things.
You can afford small ones
But you can afford…to go to the movies from time to time. You can afford to order delivery food occasionally. You get mani pedis. Your life is not void of little luxuries. You’re lucky—some people don’t even get those.
When you feel stuck in your career
You wanted that promotion somebody else got. You wanted the recognition somebody else got. You wanted more shares for your article on social media. Things aren’t moving at the speed you want.
Recall where you were five years ago
Instead of only thinking of where you want to be, think of how far you’ve come, too. It’s good to have an eye on the future, of course. But negative people tend to only think of where they aren’t, and never applaud themselves for how far they’ve come.
When your friend or partner gets her way
You’re going to the movie your partner or friends wants to see—not you. You have a bad attitude about it the whole time. You’re looking for proof that your selection would have been better. You tell your friend she owes you one.
Be happy to make someone happy
Rather than obsessing over not going to the movie or restaurant you wanted to go to, focus on how happy it makes you to make someone you love happy.
When you’re sad to be single
You’re looking at social media posts of all the happy couples. You’re pitying yourself for not being in one. You’re thinking you’re just unlucky in love or nobody ever notices you.