I believed it for a very long time that positivity and optimism are character traits: you’re either born with them or you don’t have them. But then I met someone.
My friend, let’s call her X, does not have an easy life. Never had. So how can she be always so happy, generous and kind?
She is just a positive person I told myself. Some people are. It’s not my fault I tend to see the wrong side of things, it’s my investigative nature. It’s normal that no matter how many times I try, I can’t get over my negative disposition. It’s in my blood – my father, his mother, we’re all like that.
Then X told me a secret: she worked hard and continues to do so every day to focus on the good things. She cannot allow herself to be swallowed up in complaining, or belittling someone because it would affect her too much.
This stuck a chord deep in my soul: she builds up positivity herself. She avoids situations that can take that away from her.
These are action verbs. Not passive, received, inherited characteristics but creating, focusing and consistence.
So I thought, well, maybe I can do it too?
All that wise advice I had read, proved to be true:
- You see more of what you focus on.
- Once you get rid of negative news, people, social media pages, they won’t bring you down
- Every person has something good in them if you search for it.
- Reminding yourself of what you have, appreciating it, will make you more content.
It was a slow process to get there. But it was like planting a tree: you have to work on it to make sure it gets everything it needs to grow but still it takes time. And will take even more time and effort. But that’s alright. Because now I can see what it means.
One of the things that truly helped me was a gratitude journal. It’s of course so much more (a planner, a tool to direct focus to areas I want to improve on, follow up and evaluation) but it showed me that I do have things (people, situations) to be grateful for. I am not, despite of what I used to think, without anything. In fact, I have a lot. Sometimes I even consider myself lucky to have all that I do.
If you do just one thing to improve your life, do this: write down some of the good things in your life every day. Better yet, write it down NOW in the comments. Kill that procastination pull 😉