Inspired by a post I shared on Instagram last week, I thought I’d write a blog post about positivity. I know it’s become a bit of a buzzword in the past years, but adopting a positive mindset really has changed my life (cue cringe). Hopefully this can help you to implement positivity in your life too!
Glass half empty
First of all, I thought I’d start by clarifying that I haven’t always been such an optimist. To be honest, for the majority of my childhood and teenage years, I was more of a pessimist. It’s no secret that I didn’t love primary or secondary school. After all, this general unhappiness was one of the contributing factors to my eating disorder(s). However, more than that, I used negativity as a way to deal with life. In any situation, I would always adopt the “glass half empty” approach, choosing to pick out the negatives rather than focus on the positives.
This general pessimism often manifested itself as self-criticism, leading to a deep personal loathing. My negativity meant that nothing was ever enough and I perceived myself as either lacking (my grades, my appearances, my athletic ability) or “too much” (my weight, my size). I’m not saying that my positivity has completely healed my self-criticism – because I’m still my worst critic – but it’s improved it. And you can’t hope for much more than that.
Positivity is so much more than a mindset or an outlook on life; it’s a practice that we need to implement into our daily lives. With every challenge that’s thrown our way, there are always two ways to approach them: with positivity, or with negativity. Because, fundamentally, positivity is also a choice. You can choose to be positive. When life throws the worst imaginable thing your way, it can be extremely hard to dust yourself off – but positivity will allow you to overcome it far easier than negativity ever will.
Going from pessimism to optimism isn’t an overnight job. You can’t simply flick a switch and be an optimist. Rather, you need to make small steps everyday – and eventually, you will have a completely different outlook on life. Some of the small steps I took were:
- Gratitude journalling – it really forces you to squeeze as much positivity out of life as possible
- Working on myself – this involved stopping sport, healing my relationship with food and exercise, learning my self-worth and so much more
- Creating long-lasting friendships
- Doing what makes me happy – writing (blogging), running, talking to friends
- Making my dreams into realities – applying for jobs, internships, saying yes to opportunities
How it’s changed my life
The other day, my family described me as (generally speaking) an optimist. At first, it surprised me, because I’ve hung onto the idea of me being a pessimist for so long that, despite becoming a more positive person, I had never consciously detached myself from pessimism. But it made me realise that my outlook on life, the positive vibes I try to share, the energy I give out – they all have an effect on others. If I can make others feel good, it makes me feel good. I feel in control, because I get to choose how I respond to things. And, if that isn’t life-changing, I don’t know what is.
Before rounding off the post, I wanted to briefly touch on toxic positivity. Because, as with everything, you can have too much of a good thing. Practising positivity without ever acknowledging your hardships, your struggles, your bad days, is toxic. It forces you to bottle up all your sadness and negative emotions until, one day, they come explode. So, rather than ignoring these feelings, it’s important to acknowledge them. To notice them, to accept them, and to move onto something else. Dwelling on negativity only breeds resentment, sadness, (self-)hatred… But it’s still important to notice the low moods and give them an outlet.
I hope you enjoyed this post, and know that I am sending positive vibes your way.