We’ve all felt the urge to speak ill of others at one time or another. Sometimes we do it to feel better about ourselves. Sometimes we do it to fit in. Sometimes we do it out of frustration and anger. Sometimes we mean it and sometimes we don’t. But it’s still dangerous, for both ourselves and for others. It poisons the air with negativity that gets harder and harder to breathe. People won’t want to be around us and soon we won’t want to be around ourselves. It never does make us feel better, but makes others feel worse. It never does help us fit in, because what goes around comes around. Don’t kick someone down in efforts to give yourself a lift up. You’ll only find yourself further at the bottom somewhere else.
Tip One: Stop comparing yourself to others
It’s said time and time again, but we can’t seem to get away from it. But it’s so counter-productive! We’re all different. Some of us excel in certain things and some of us suck at them. We all have something we’re better at and worse at. We all in different stories, at different chapters, with equally beautiful endings. Start playing to your strengths and working on your weaknesses. Be better than you were yesterday, not better than the other person in the room.
Tip Two: Don’t just think it, say it
Thinking positively about yourself is harder than it sounds. But if we hear it, maybe we’ll start to listen. Stand in front of the mirror every morning and take a look at what you see. Let yourself know something you love about yourself and say it out loud. Or start the day with a positive affirmation out loud. It may feel weird at the beginning, but it will quickly sink in and transform your mindset.
Tip Three: Look at mistakes as spring boards
Failure and mistakes shouldn’t be looked at as the enemy. They’re actually the key to our success, but only if we act on them in the correct way. Instead of punishing yourself over mistakes you’ve made, focus on what you can learn from them and how you can use those teachings as fuel to greater success.
Tip Four: Gather some perspective
Sometimes we need to step out of our own heads and look at our situation from the outside. What would your friends say if they knew what you were saying about yourself? What would you say to a friend in a similar situation? Challenge yourself on the negative things you say to yourself and don’t be so hard on yourself. Most of the things we actually beat ourselves up on aren’t a big deal like we’re making them out to be.
Tip Five: Focus on solutions, not just problems
Sometimes we feel like we deserve the negative self-talk. But really it doesn’t do us any favours. When we talk negatively about ourselves, we’re often focusing too much on the problems instead of thinking about what we could do to solve them and thinking about the action. But focusing on the solutions will automatically move your mind to a positive space, and the problem won’t seem as bad.
Not every day will be a ‘good’ day. But there’s still something good in every day, no matter how small: an accomplishment, a smile, a hug, a chat, a cup of coffee, a book, a bath, a walk, a song. If today isn’t turning out to be a good day, there’s still time to turn it around. Bad days don’t equal a bad life. They just make us appreciate the good even more.
It’s so easy to forget how much we can change someone’s day in one interaction. No matter what our relationship with the other person is and no matter what type of environment we find ourselves in, our energy and our actions do make a mark. I’ve seen coffee shop baristas pick out the best cookie for their customer. I’ve heard enthusiastic train conductors wishing everyone a pleasant day. I’ve seen a shop assistants help carry a mother struggling with her pram up the stairs. I’ve heard of people anonymously paying for others’ meals at restaurants. And there’s so many more similar interactions that are so small but make a huge difference. Energy is infectious – when you make someone feel good, they’ll want to do the same for others. Good vibes all around are down to each of us believing it’s up to us.
Being positive doesn’t mean staying positive. We all have negative moments, moments when we doubt ourselves, when we make mistakes, when someone lets us down, and so on. Being positive is how you bounce back from those moments. It’s about not letting those moments slip into weeks and months and years. It’s about talking to yourself, putting faith in yourself, and loving yourself despite those moments. Life is more than those moments. Once you figure that out, positivity will flow naturally through your veins.
We can all help the world be a better place. By extending a hand. By standing up for the victim. By empowering the voiceless. By comforting the lonely. By listening to the other side of the argument. By encouraging the next generation. By caring for the earth. By sharing an idea. By radiating positivity. And so on. It doesn’t all come to money or time or access. We can make the world a better place through our perspective, our energy and a string of good deeds. We all have a part to play. And it can make all the difference. Which one is yours?
Life is full of contradictions. We cannot know happiness without sadness. We cannot know success without failure. We cannot know relationships without loneliness. We cannot know confidence without insecurity. The contradictions are what make life beautiful. Because happiness flourishes from sadness, through the comfort of those around us. Because failure nurtures success by testing our perseverance and strength. Because loneliness makes us value those people we take for granted around us. Because insecurity reminds us that we can love ourselves despite our imperfections. Don’t be afraid to feel, both the joyful and melancholy emotions. It’s ok to let them out. And life will be better because of it.