Truth Telling: Growing up, I was not one of the popular kids, the pretty girls, the athletic type. I didn’t have a huge group of friends, but I had a few outstanding ones. We were the nerdy musical kids off in our own corner singing show tunes and running lines. I was the overly-sensitive, stressed out, type-a kid who worried about getting all of my homework and everything else in my life perfect. I was talented, but I never thought I was good enough. Never pretty enough. Never smart enough. I started to focus on the negative parts of my body, my self, and wonder what I could fix or do differently. I stressed about daily activities and tried putting a on face to make everyone think I was perfectly happy with myself and my world. I struggled with insomnia and anxiety attacks for years. (That’s me on the left with the deer in the headlights expression)
It’s so easy to start spinning out of control thinking negatively. It’s simple to point out flaws and what we dislike about ourselves and others. We get caught up in everything awful and forget to look at the positives. We forget that we are the ones in control and that we have the option to change our thinking.
There are a couple people in my life that I can thank for helping facilitate this change for me. For helping me look at the world in a different light. For helping me be happier with the life I was given and make choices that have brought me to the incredible life I am leading now. I am eternally grateful for those people and their words.
Positive Thinking: You’ve probably heard the phrase The Power of Positive Thinking or something similar. No matter what you call it, I can tell you it works if you make it work for you. Once you start your journey into thinking positively, it becomes easier and easier to stay in that mind set. Now, I am in no way a guru or expert on this topic, but I can tell you what has worked to help get me in a more positive mindset.
- Recognize Beauty In the World Around – If I’m driving, out on a walk, or really anywhere, I look around for something beautiful, funny, or moving. I take a second to think about it and smile knowing that there are wonderful things in this world. It helps brighten my day and change my outlook
- Compliment Strangers – Do you like someones shoes, hair, coat, bag, makeup, etc? Let them know!! They usually love to hear it and it’s a positive conversation starter. People will often say something nice in return as well. Plus it makes you feel good to make someone else feel good!
- Learn to Take a Compliment – If someone compliments you, it is usually for a specific reason. Take a second to think about what they said and smile! Don’t just shrug it off. Really appreciate the positive words thrown your way!
- Write It Down – At the end of your day write down 3 positive things that happened. It can be anything! Literally anything! Get in the practice of finding good things in EVERY day.
- Say It Out Loud (affirmations)- Look in the mirror, at a friend, a spouse, or family member and tell them something you love about yourself. Name something OUT LOUD that you like about you!
That last practice has been the most difficult for me and something I still work on EVERY day. I had gotten in the habit of saying things like, “my hair looks awful”, “I look tired”, “I hate my______” ,etc. Every time I said one of these things my husband got a saddened expression and let me know that he thought I was beautiful. He knew that wasn’t enough to change my mind. Now every time I say something negative he has me say 3 positive things about myself. And honestly, it has helped immensely. I don’t need encouragement to look in the mirror and recognize that the person looking back at me is beautiful. And yes, I still have my off days. We all do. But I spend much more of my time happy, smiling, and relaxed than I ever have before.
I’ve used the Say It Out Loud strategy with other individuals in my life as well. When my students or clients get wrapped up in everything they think they are doing wrong, I have them take step back and tell me 3 positive things they did right and then we look for one thing we can work on instead of taking everything at once. We break it down. Recognize the good then make a small change.
What helps you think more positively?
It’s a choice. I choose these practices. You can too.