06 March, 2013

The positive-negative divide and thinking about your next ice cream

Lately a few things have come my way that have made me look at the way our society operates in terms of the different energies people give out. There seems to be a clear distinction between those who work really hard to create a positive world (not just for themselves but for others too) and those who do the opposite and invest their energy in being cynical and critical.

Thankfully I place myself in the former collection of people (phew!) because I spend my days focusing on positive things, taking positive action and trying to make everything I do a 'good' thing - as a result I am a 'happy person' most of the time. My attitude has at times meant cutting ties with people who stand in the way of me feeling good about myself and my life, but life is too short to be dragged down. I surround myself with things that make me smile and I don't spend time focusing on what others are saying or doing - I certainly don't spend time criticising them. Instead I do my running, I bake my cakes, I spend time with like-minded people who buoy me up and I appreciate every single little positive thing in my world, from them cup of tea I have in the morning to the bigger things like my always appreciated  friends, job, boyfriend and family. I take nothing for granted and rely on those things to pep me up when the going gets tough.

It has often knocked me sideways when I find there are actually people out there who are different from that and who do think a lot about what other people are doing, and in a negative way too. I will never stop being surprised that some people spend their days actively putting negative energy out into the world, constantly thinking about and hating on others. Sometimes we will be happily la-la-la-ing along and then someone does or says something negative towards us and we think eh?! Why are you spending time thinking about what I am doing? Sometimes it comes from people who we didn't even know existed, which is mind-boggling!

One thing that it is worth saying though, is that people aren't born positive. Do you think people who work hard to be happy don't have really down days or battles of their own? Do you think they don't suffer from depression, anxiety or low self-esteem? Do you think maybe the reason some of us work so hard to be positive is because actually we have been too close to the flip side of that? Nobody wakes up every single day and goes 'Yay! life!' but some of us choose to work really, really hard towards that, and then eventually we just do wake up thinking 'yay, life!' It doesn't mean we are always happy or don't have shit, we just choose not to dwell on that shit and try our damn hardest to be chipper anyway. Beyond that, tust because someone appears happy and positive, doesn't make it ago to give them a hard time. They are still just a person, standing in front of another person, asking to be accepted (yes I stole and adapted that from Notting Hill).

I have really shit days. People tell me I am a happy person and I am, but I work hard to be that way and there are things that work against me - I cry really easily, I have severe mood-swings sometimes (I can go from extremly sad to ecstatically happy quicker than you can say 'smile') and there are things in my life I wish I could change. I have some quite low lows that only my Mum, boyfriend and close friends really see, where I am crying about all the bad things in life, I feel like life is hard and everything is woeful. Wednesday's child! But I never stay down long, because I focus on the things that make me happy. That's the difference between me and someone negative.

By acting and thinking positively - from thought to tweet to real life - eventually you can and will be positive. You fight  to see the good stuff and enjoy the shit stuff (you know, 'learn to dance in the rain' and that) until one day you wake up and you DO LOVE EVERYTHING. You love your life, you love going to the gym and going to work and the people you see and the things you do, you stop seeing negativity everywhere you go and being critical because you're too busy seeing all the good things life offers and the awesome things in the people around you. More importantly you are too busy living.

Despite challenges that have come my way, as I get older I just get happier. No that doesn't mean I have the perfect life or that I don't have difficult things to contend with, but it does mean I have learnt to choose to be positive about me, because I want to enjoy my time in the world and for that to happen you have to have confidence in yourself and love your own life. I won't ever stop finding negative attitudes disappointing, but as I grow-up I do find it easier to A) spot them and B) quickly distance myself from them. Beyond that, I have realised the happier you are and the more positivity you radiate, the more negativity others will throw at you. It's just the way it goes.

Negativity hates positivity, while positivity doesn't care and is just thinking about it's next ice cream.

Sometimes being a positive influence can inspire someone hateful to change, but sometimes they just want to continue being miserable - it is at that point I leave. What I have slowly come to realise is that unprovoked criticism from another is a compliment, because most of the time it means they actually see something in you that they wish they could be. Beyond that; "people who judge you only sentence themselves while you go free, no need to defend yourself, just let them be.''

Life is short. You attract what is in your heart. If your heart is full of criticism, judgement, negativity and hate, then that is the life you will lead. Happy people will just keep on being happy. Yes being positive is hard work at times and god knows the world makes it difficult for us humans, but I have proven to myself that by surrounding yourself with positive things, ignoring the haters and doing the things that make you happy, then you can feel really good despite others.

Here are some of the main things I have learnt about leading a happy life. I am only 26 and have loads more to learn, so do let me know any tips! After all, the only way is up :)

Love, your eternal optimist

  • focus on yourself not others - they aren't thinking about you, so don't think about them
  • surround yourself with little things that encourage happiness - bright colours, healthy food, positive people
  • eat well, sleep well, exercise - you can control these things so it is an easy way to promote happiness
  • stand up for what you believe in - it is scientifically proven that making a stand makes us feel better about ourselves
  • treat yourself when you have earnt it
  • find balance (yesterday I ordered me some snazzy new running shorts and the new Hummingbird Bakery recipe book...that's balance right?!) 
  • 'be silly, be honest, be kind' - Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • SMILE - think about your next ice cream, treat, run - whatever does it for you
  • there is a difference between happiness and positivity - they aren't co-dependent
  • there is a difference between sadness and negativity, you can feel sad but still be positive 
  • be inspired by others - just remember to be you, you can't become someone else because it won't be real, but you can allow yourself to be positively influenced and look up to people who inspire you
  • be kind to others - not only are they fighting battles you don't know about, but giving to others releases a happy hormones that make us feel better than if we were receiving something - Cosmo fact of the month!

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