This Is What I Know For Sure Today:
I look at life…every person’s life as a very special occasion and so I celebrate life everyday. And I celebrate the lives of folks I know. The bottom line to me is my attitude about living, about how I treat other people, and what I can do for anyone who is in need or who I can join together with because they too are celebrating life. Here is what I have learned to use in staying happy, grateful, and in a celebrating frame of mind.
1: I Believe Happiness is a Choice
For me, years & years ago, this was a hard thing to wrap my mind around. I used to believe that people were either unhappy or happy (and I was one of the unhappy ones). I used to blame this on all kinds of outside stuff…destiny, experiences, parents, relationships…but, I never really stopped to think that I could choose to be happy.
For sure this isn’t always easy, but it is always, always a choice. Teaching myself to know that happiness was a choice has been one of the greatest things I’ve ever done for myself.
Now when I find myself in a eewwy situation, I know that it’s up to me to look for the good, to be happy regardless of what’s happening around me. I no longer point my finger at others, 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 and how I respond (NOT react) to it. I am in control of my happiness level and no one can ever take that away from me unless I allow it.
2: Rid Your Life of Negativity
If you want to live a positive, joyful and happy life, you cannot….absolutely CANNOT….be surrounded by negative people who are not encouraging your happiness. When I was a negative person, I tended to attract other negative people right smack into my life. What a major bummer that was. When I made up my mind to make the changes necessary to live a positive life, I had to rid my life of all of the negative people in it. This, I can tell you, wasn’t easy or fun. Letting go of people flat out hurts…even when you know they aren’t good for you or your current lifestyle. I truly believe in my heart that folks are very aware of their own negative ways. Not only did I have to get let go of the negative people, but I also had to get let go of negative things too. I made myself stop doing certain things that were causing negativity in my life. I had to take a step back and examine what 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 ongoing, but I know this for sure: having negativity in your life prevents you from living a truly positive existence. Life is a beautiful occasion. There’s no room for the negative.
3: Look For the Positive in Life
There is a positive aspect in everything. In each one of us, in every situation we find ourselves, there is always something good to be found. Many times it’s not all that obvious. We have to look and sometimes we have to look very hard.
The old me just sat back and allowed things to happen by default. If I saw or felt negative, I went with that feeling. I didn’t know 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 or heard (which was usually the bad). Now, when I am 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 can ALWAYS find something good if I take the time to think about it.
Everything, good or not so wonderful, is a learning experience. At the very least, we can learn from bad experiences.
4: Reinforce Positivity in Yourself
Once I started thinking more positively and adapted to a more positive attitude, I realized I had to reinforce these thoughts and behaviors in myself so they would stick. It takes 21 days to form a habit. As with any kind of learning, practice makes perfect, and yes we can practice being positive. I found that the best and easiest way to do this, is to be positive when it comes to who you are. Tell yourself you’re awesome (because you are). Tell yourself you look good (because you do). Tell yourself that you love and accept yourself completely (because that’s necessary). Tell yourself you did an awesome job at work or raising your kids or whatever it is you do (because most likely, you did your best with what you have/had to work with). Be honest with yourself, but do your best to look for the good. Whatever you do, don’t focus on the negative. Nothing good will ever come from telling yourself bad..faulty thinking things. It’s okay to not like everything about yourself (yet), but don’t spend energy dwelling 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.
5: Share Happiness with Others
Not only do we need to be positive with ourselves for this new positive attitude to really take effect, but we also need to be positive with others. We need to share our wealth of positivity with the world. Positivity changes everything for the better!
For me, the best way to accomplish this is quite simple and basic: Be nice. Be nice to other people, no matter what. Tell someone he or she looks nice today. Tell someone they did a great job on that presentation or something they made or created. Tell your parents or children (or both!) how much you love them and how great they are if you have not detached from them.
If 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 used to come easily.
In the past, I didn’t know to see the good in myself and, therefore, didn’t know 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 in your own life.
Summing These Four Things Up:
When you start feeling like the idea of being a positive person is challenging, tell yourself this: “If someone Sarah-Pink) who really used to struggle with a negative attitude, turned her life around with these five steps, then I can too!”
If anyone had told me a few years ago that I would be writing an article about developing a positive attitude and living a happy life, I would have laughed right in their face. I would have said, “Why in the world would someone want me to write about positivity?”
But here I am, writing this post, believing in these words, and knowing that every single day I am getting closer and closer to living the happy life I’ve secretly dreamed of living. Please remember….there will ALWAYS be folks who are content in their negative-chaotic-drama filled lives. It is what they know and they are afraid to let that go. That is about them, not YOU. If I can make these changes, you can too. Believe in yourself and remember the most important lesson of all…a positive outlook is a choice. Choose to be positive. Choose to be happy. Life is short.
© Sarah-Pink Welch