There are many types of characters and personalities, but ultimately it comes down to two: The pro and the con. To be a positive person one must first understand what exactly is positivity.
Positivity is not a title or a profession that one can “be”. We cannot “be” positive like one can be a Doctor or a Plumber. That is because positivity is a subjective state of mind that everyone experiences differently.
What is good for one person isn’t always what’s best for the other. Thus, one person’s experience in an amusement park might be exhilarating , thrilling, and exciting while another persons experience was scary, frustrating, and overwhelming.
A positive state of mind cannot be acquired. It can only be developed. For example, one cannot go Wal-Mart and buy a can of positivity. However, we can buy a can of beer, drink it and feel better about life. To one person getting drunk is a happy and positive experience while to another it is a negative and depressing experience that can lead to destructive patterns.
As humans we have a tendency to be either inclusive or exclusive. We focus on what we consider important, pleasant and what makes us feel good. Our love for instant gratification and comfort makes it very easy for us to ignore anything that we feel is not crucial, beneficial, or enjoyable. We gravitate towards paterns and behaviors that are gratifying and keep us comfortably functional without too much effort. This however, can lead to unwanted side effects and consequences that quickly turn a positive experience into a shitty one.
For example, eating makes us feel good so we indulge. That leads to weight gain and then we feel negative about our body. We begin to associate food with guilt and develop a love hate relationship with it. Although we know that we can lose the weight but that it will require action and effort, we would rather focus on making excuses for our current condition (I am big-boned, My metabolism is slow, I’m married who cares?).
Or also, we focus on creating obstacles and impossibilities towards why we cannot be what we want to be (I can’t work out because I have bad knees, I don’t like vegetables, diets give me headaches). This is negative thinking.
When we start to associate with those negative patterns and appropriate those conditions that we created they become us. Ask yourself, when did I allow myself to become the unhappily married fat guy with bad knees who will never lose weight?
The Power Of Words: I Do vs I Don’t
Positively approaching an unwanted situation sounds easy but isn’t always so. That is because of our own polarization and limited focus. The good news is, we can shift the perspective about how we feel by changing what we focus on.
The unhappily married fat guy with bad knees can focus on the fact that someone once found him attractive and lovable enough to want to marry him. He enjoyed food, and was very blessed to have had an abundance of it in his life. Although now his knees may not be in optimal condition, he still has legs and can work his way back into a full recovery. That is positive thinking!
Instead of saying “I can’t lose this weight, I have bad knees!” He can ask himself “Is there a low intensity exercise program that would be fun and I can enroll in?”. Taking the impossibility factor out of thought current immediately shifts our perspective from “I can’t” to “Hey maybe I can and should!”.
Asking questions leads to understanding and developing new thought currents. By questioning everything that we are unhappy with we begin to find solutions and develop a positive outlook to what could potentially go right in our lives.
Some good questions to ask that can get anyone in an instant positive mindset are:
“What am I the most proud of”
“What is funny about this situation?”
“What would be the best possible thing that could happen right now?”
Making a practice of regularly questioning and observing why we feel a certain way will lead to a shift in the way we default to either positive or negative thinking.
Baby You are a Star!
To develop positive thinking patterns we must open up the lens that we see our life trough. By focusing only in selected sections and zooming in on imperfections we are missing out on the big picture!
Imagine that your life is a big budget HD IMAX movie with Ultra Dolby Sound. It was created with the best and latest technology. Your co-stars are all academy award-winning actors.
Now, ask yourself, why would you want to experience this magnificent film trough a vintage black and white TV with mono audio, running on basic cable with sponsored infomercials interrupting the film every 10 minutes. That sounds pretty stupid right? Well, that is exactly what happens when we decide to focus only on the temporary negative emotional outbursts we experience in our life.
Before allowing ourselves to sink into a foul mood, it is wise to step back and observe the situation. Being a third-party observer can be a valuable trick to understanding why things are happening a certain way and if we really should be wasting time and energy being upset over it. Many times we will see that we simply overreact because we assumed or imagined things that were never really there. Also, looking at the big picture will open up possibilities, opportunities, and solutions that we may have not realized before.
Open your mind to new possibilities and look for ways you can engage and create productive solutions . How can I enjoy this moment? Who or how can I help? What can I learn from this experience and how can I flip it around for my benefit?
Being positive is a state of authenticity and responsibility. When we begin to take responsibility for everything that has happened in our life, we realize that we have the power and authority to change what we do not like, and create the reality that we desire.
So what if you have screwed up in the past! Just because we have always done things a certain way or followed a pattern or tradition it does not mean that those cognitions cannot be broken. Decide to take action and discard anything which no longer serves you. Explore new places, meet new people and engage in new activities and hobbies. Activism will renew your interests and spark your creativity and joy.
There are infinite reasons to be happy and grateful in this lifetime. To find them it is only a matter of shifting perspective and allowing ourselves to sit back and enjoy the show.