Turning negativity on its head. How to think more positively
Seems a crap title right? We’re shovelled this shit constantly from people with bags of money, living the high life, and somehow they say that we just need to smile and be happy to live a more prosperous and eventful life. Even worse that we’re blamed for living the life that we do. That somehow our circumstances are our own fault. That because we have no money, or great people around us then we’re chosing to be this way. Well I call bullshit. Bullshit to those that think there’s a great cure for magic happiness, because there’s not.
But it’s definitely a mindset.
What do I mean?
Well, I’ve met two types of people in this world. I’ve sat and talked with homeless people before, with not a penny to buy themselves a hearty meal with, moving from charity centre to charity centre to make sure that they eat and drink. The ground they walk on is their home and the people they meet their friends. To me, that type of situation seems desperate. The very thought of not having a roof over my head to live in terrifies me. It sends shivvers down my spine. I once spent a night homeless, sleeping out in the cold when I couldn’t find my busfair for the journey back after a heavy night out on the beer, and I hated every minute of it. It was cold and horrible. And no-one seemd to care. But some of the people that I’ve talked to seemed as if the world was their oyster, sleeping in new places would excite them, meeting new people was their bread, and to them the world they lived in couldn’t be a happier place. It confused me to say the least.
And then I’ve met people with large houses, cars coming out of their ears and a bank balance to boot. Everything in their world suggesting that they should be terribly happy and on top of the world but they were not. The grass was always greener for them, envying the lives that other people had, bitter and twisted at the world for landing them the lives that they have and the situation that they found themselves in. I’ve seen it before, and I’m sure I’ll see it again.
And since then I’ve started to wonder about happiness. When we look at other people, when they seem to have everything sorted and owning their lives the way that they should; actually, do they? It has to be a mindset. I mean if there can be two different people, each at opposite ends of what society deems a person should be happy with, but the person with nothing can be truly happy and the person with everything may not be, then it has to be a mindset. It must be. Let me be clear that before I started feeling comfortable in my surroundings I had nothing and I was bitterly unhappy, just as there are people with everything and are ubundantly happy, and for good reason.
It started when someone I used to work with continued our friendship after I finished that position, we were all made redundant. It was a sad shame, but alas, such is life. I remember sitting in my house with him, showing him around, telling him that what I have is mediocre right now and as my business grows then I’ll have much more, and I’m looking forward to it because life is quite hard right now.
And he looked at me in sort of friendship-disgust. He couldn’t believe I was downplaying the awesome life that I had. I mean I was happily married, had a lovely kid, tons of prospects and had a nice roof over my head. I mean to him, he couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t be over the moon. As I look back I can see his point entirely. I had everything. Everything I always wanted. Everything he wanted, but didn’t have access to it. And yet there was me, sitting there complaining about the things I had worked hard to achieve.
It was a slow process but from there I started to look at life slightly different, and perhaps my last job kicked me into touch where the positivity was concerned. I had been looking at life the wrong way. I was always two steps ahead of myself, always looking at what was just out of reach and feeling sad because I didn’t have it. I didn’t realise it at the time but that was toxic thinking, because it was spiralling me into a needless depression. Why should I be depressed? I have everything that I always wanted.
And that’s the thing. I always believed that once I had everything I’d be incredibly happy. I didn’t realise that having everything is entirely subjective. My everything can be different from your everything, or our neighbours everything. When we reach our goals it’s only natural to want more, strive for more and want better. But it’s how we go about setting our next goals to achieve what we wanted to. I wasn’t a very big goal setter. To be honest I’m still not. I would always look too far in the future. I always wanted to get my Bachelors Degree but I didn’t want to take out the time and hard work that it takes to get me there. Or worse, I didn’t know how to make those steps. And it ended up with me being frustrated, or overloaded, or both.
So how did I change it?
Three ways for me.
I realised that I needed to start appreciating what I already had.
Ten years ago I had nothing. I was uneducated, drinking lots and a single man roaming life always wondering why bad things always happened to him, never really taking ownership of my own part in my stagnation. That’s a lot to achieve in a small amount of time. I had come a long way and had amassed great things and friends on my journey. I started to appreciate that. My friends were my life blood. I stopped acting like they were due me a favour and started taking responsibility for playing a part in their lives.
I pulled back my goals
I’d always think I’d like to be in a better place next year but I’ve stopped thinking like that, stopped looking too far in front. I now think,
“Ok, what can I do today to better my life and career? What efforts and changes can I make today”
I’m a great believer in living in the moment. Perhaps tonight or tomorrow I’ll write about that. I’m not too sure yet. Instead of thinking I want to have a bachelors in three years I started to think, do I need to do an essay today for my teacher? Are there any reading materials I need to get through today? Do I have any spare time? What other goals can I work towards in my spare time?
I turned my thinking on its head and accepted that there’s some things I just can’t change
When I started doing the first two I was able to turn my thinking upside down. By taking life a day at a time I was able to see the challenges in front of me and break them down into small segments. Rather than thinking,
“My friend is an asshole, he’ll never come and see me”
“Oh, I want to see my friend, I’ll go and see him”
By this way of thinking I started to realise that some things I just can’t change, and rather than get depressed about the situation I can make it easier on myself by working with the tools that I have at my disposal. It’s called forward thinking. So rather than getting angry that my friend never visits me, the simple solution is to go and visit him. I still want to see him, and I can’t change my friend. Until the day mind control is invented I’ll never be able to control anyone. So, rather than get angry, which seems rather pointless, I just make the necessary adjustments to go and see him. Wallah!
And from there life began to get far more positive. I started to see all the challenges I’ve had in life as a learning journey. Rather than get angry and twisted at what life has thrown at me it’s put me in a unique position that I’ve experienced more than most, been through some things that would make others quivver in their boots. By reflecting on the past I’ve learned an absolute plethora of times where I’ve went abysmally wrong. Yet, I’ve accepted that I’m human and make mistakes, but this time I’ve taken to rectify them! To look at what’s needed to be done, the systems needed to be put in place so that it never happens again.
And by that, I’ve entirely changed my thinking around
Pretty neat, huh?
And if I can do it I bet you can too.
Turning negativity on its head. How to think more positively