A friend recently told me about her worrying problem. We all worry, but it seems that she worries about worrying. Her physician had recommended a particular book and when we talked about it, I told her to buy the book because it's the type of thing you don't just read once. As I was searching for the book on the internet, I came across many book and article titles giving a certain number of easy steps to a positive attitude, a certain number of days to a positive self image, and the list goes on and on. It seems if you have any type of problem at all, someone has some steps you can take to rid yourself of the problem. If it really were that easy, don't you think we would all be frolicking in the daisies laughing with childlike glee? All of the therapists, life coaches, psychologists, etc.. would be out of business if there truly were just a few steps needed to change your life. It's no different than the belief that a few pills can end an obese lifestyle.
Well that's depressing, right? You read that and now you're ready to take a nap because life is hopeless, right?
Not hardly my friend!
I am telling you that getting positive is hard and staying positive is even harder. I'm telling you this, because you are not alone in your struggle and if you have a day when you aren't feeling happy, you are not a failure and you're not alone. If I told you there were five easy steps and you'd be cured, the first day you felt sad, you'd throw in the towel. Dottie Hinson and Jimmy Dugan said it best in the fabulous movie A League of Their Own
Dottie: "It's just got too hard"
Jimmy:"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard ... is what makes it great."
Here are some suggestions to help you get positive:
1) Positive Self Talk - This is all about that little inner voice. If you're inner voice is screaming 'lose some weight' while you look in the mirror, you need to train that voice to shut up, but saying in an even louder voice "I have great eyes and a fabulous smile". Eventually you won't hear the little voice and you'll look in the mirror very confidently and say "I am gorgeous" or "I am handsome" or "Look at Me!"
2) Positive Influence - This is about deciding who in your life is on your side. There's no middle ground when it comes to friendship. People are either for you, or they are against you. If a friend never asks you how you're doing, isn't available when you need them, and doesn't make time to nurture your friendship .... THEY AREN'T A FRIEND ... yup, I screamed that at you - because it's pretty obvious although painful to hear. Rid yourself of those people that bring you down and fill your life with people that notice how amazing you are, how sexy you are, how intelligent you are, and those people who are ready at a moments notice to grab their pompons and cheer you onto the finish line!
3) Reduce Worry - Worry is you trying to control things that are uncontrollable. That's heavy - so let me give you an example: I want to give a kidney to a woman who will die without one. I have 2 and only need 1 - pretty simple, right? It is simple, until I start worrying and then the following doubts creep in:
-what if one of my kids needs one of my kidneys someday? won't I be upset that I don't have 2 anymore?
-what if one of my kidneys fail someday? won't I be upset that I gave one away and now I'm facing death?
-what if the surgery is painful?
-what if ... what if ... what if ...
Truth is, I can't control any of the things I am worried about. I need to just shrug my shoulders in response to those negative thoughts. I need to say 'oh well, can't control it, so I choose not to worry about it' and I need to repeat this every time one of those negative thoughts comes to mind. Eventually, I will worry less and enjoy much more.
4) Repeat - Repetition is crucial to getting and staying positive. I can't get positive and stay there unless I continually tell myself positive things, surround myself by positive people, and stop worrying about what I cannot control. There are days that I do this nearly every ten minutes, and days when a handful of times is enough.
Now that you know what is going to help you get positive and stay positive, think about how you can help others. Are you the friend that doesn't make time? doesn't ask questions? doesn't give compliments? You might be - but it's never too late to become the friend you were meant to be. Pick up the phone and call someone, invite them to coffee. When you see them, help their positive self talk by giving them a genuine and sincere compliment, be the positive influence in THEIR life. Being good to others will help train your brain to be good to yourself!
Enjoy some improved friendships, new friendships, and more days filled with laughter and positivity! (by the way - I know positivity isn't a word...but it should be...so please indulge me)
May your paths be abundantly filled with lemons, sugar, sunshine, and may you always know how amazing and wonderful you truly are!