When I was a teenager, I had an argument with my parents almost every week because there were so many days when I did not want to go to school. I know what you’re thinking, what was so bad about school that made her not want to go? Was she being bullied? Thankfully, the answer to that question is no.
The problem was my mindset. Every morning I would wake up and think about all the things that I was not looking forward to in my day. Maybe it was a class I didn’t like, a test I wasn’t ready for, or maybe I just couldn’t be bothered with the long train ride to and from school. I would focus in on these small annoyances and blow them way out of proportion. It would make me really unhappy and the day would become almost impossible to get through.
When I finally began to change my attitude, I realised something important. It’s possible to be your own bully.
Think of all the negative things you think on a regular basis. Maybe you’re like I was, and you focus on all the things you don’t want to do. Or maybe you direct your negative feelings inward, reminding yourself of your failings or shortcomings; “I am not good at that,” or “why can’t I get anything right”. Imagine for a second that these words came from another person and try to think how hurtful and depressing it would be to have someone saying negative things to you constantly. Is it really any different when those words come from you?
The power of positive thinking is an idea that many people scoff at, and it is not hard to see why. Many people who profess its power are also caught up in the world of reading auras or magically willing the things they want to happen into existence. But in reality, positive thinking is not a mystical “The Secret” type power that seemingly makes everything turn perfect, it is just a form of introspection that ensures that you don’t become your own bully.
So, if you’re not quite sure where to start, here are three rules to follow for positive thinking.
- Focus on the present, not the past
Everyone has made mistakes or done things they regret, and let’s face it hindsight is 20/20. Replaying it over and over thinking about how things might have turned out will never change the outcome, it will just prolong your frustration. Focus on what’s your doing now to improve your life, progress your career or make you happier.
2. Learn not to hate anyone
Yes, I mean anyone. One saying I’ve learned to live by is “you can’t swallow poison and expect the other person to die.” Nurturing a grudge for a person who has slighted or hurt you only will only do more damage to you than it will to them as no amount of sheer hatred can destroy a person- unless your willing to actively seek revenge, which I sincerely do not recommend you do. Remember to focus on yourself and your own future happiness, as another great saying from Frank Sinatra reminds us “the best revenge is massive success.”
3. Take things one step at a time
It is really easy to get overwhelmed when there’s a lot on your plate, and this creates prime conditions for negative thinking to creep in. It can become so hard to be productive when you think of the mountain of work or tasks you have to complete in a day and worrying that you can’t do them all will most likely sabotage your ability to get any of them done. Always remember, you can only do one thing at a time. Focus on what’s right in front of you and remind yourself that you will cross those other bridges when you come to them.
Positive thinking is something anyone can do, it is simply a good practice of wellbeing. My negative thinking was the cause of my unhappiness, and I made the choice to change it. I don’t even really remember how it happened, I think I just woke up one day and decided to put those negative thoughts out of mind. I realised that my day was made so much easier by pushing the negative thoughts out of my head, and I’ve never turned back. The strategies you may use to stay positive are deeply personal and subjective- and remember you don’t have to share them with anyone! It is for you and you alone.