Tag Archives: Positivity

Positivity, how it can harm and how it can help you.

Positivity has become fashionable. And as somebody who’s never taken to the EMO culture, I’m glad. But as with everything else, there’s a healthy and unhealthy approach to positivity. And as positivity focused as I am, I can also be annoyed by some of the mantras circulating on social media and among friends.

 

Positivity is harmful when you take it too literally. When you block out the hurt and sadness that comes with living by trying to shake it off with mantras like “Oh well, I’m grateful to have the gift of life”, or something equally Pollyanna like, you’re not really dealing with the negative things that come your way and that’s not healthy.

 

Imagine a dinner plate. Initially it’s clean. Then you eat fish, the next day you have pork, the next day lentils and then chicken and so on. And you don’t clean the plate between meals other than sprinkling some water on it. Though the plate is physically okay to eat from, the residue from the earlier meals will be there and eventually as you eat from the plate and never wash it, all sort of disgusting organisms might start building their own dinner plate colony.

 

By always smiling and reciting positive mantras, your mind will end up as grimy as that dinner plate. And eventually the positivity will turn on you and you might have a mental breakdown which it might take both time and professional help to recover from.

 

Let’s go back to the dinner plate. Say now that you do clean it after every meal. You’ve taken time to clear any traces of the previous meal away and the plate is as good as new. That is also how you should treat your mind. It won’t be a guarantee against long term depression, but by going through your negative experiences and dealing with them in a way that works for you, will be helpful in keeping a good mental hygiene. Everything will probably be ok and improve tomorrow, but get the hurt out so that you start off with a clean slate.

 

And what about when it won’t be ok? How do you use positivity towards someone who is terminally ill in respectful manner that’s not gonna infuriate them? I’m no psychologist, but I’ve experienced enough terminal illness with close family members that I have an idea. It’s not something that will be deemed positive in the traditional sense.. But if you think that being there by a terminally ill loved one who more than anything wants you by their side isn’t a good thing, though sad, then isn’t that a form of positivity? And as what to say to them, stay away from “It’ll be fine”; unless they believe in an afterlife that you know they’re keen on getting too. , I think the safest thing is to say “I’m here, I’m not going anywhere and I’m letting you know. It’s up to you what you wanna do with that information.”

 

Positivity isn’t just about good visible results and happy endings. Positivity is about love, self-belief, living in the now, being comfortable with yourself and your emotions, being a good friend and those moments and experiences that keep you moving forward. It is also about cleaning out the old and making space for the new.

 

Positivity is a powerful and constructive tool that can make life more bearable. But be mindful, which is another annoyingly trendy word, of how you manifest it. There’s nothing wrong with mantras. But for your own sake, it’s better to use mantras that you can live by and stand for. But I think mantras are very personal and in my experience it’s better to project positivity onto someone else by actions rather than just than mantras.

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Self-improvement, conclusive thoughts

I’ve been thinking long and hard for a few days about how to progress with this self-improvement journey on the blog. I came up with a few topics for new lessons, but after assessing them, I think they can all fit in to this conclusive post on self-improvement lessons. That isn’t to say I won’t be posting more tips and advice that has worked for me to improve my life, but I will probably do it in a slightly different context rather than straight up self-improvement lessons.

 

Self-improvement hurts a lot.

I will compare it to a blister. Starting your private journal is a bit like taking a huge needle and puncturing it. The hurt, anger and self-addressing that will inevitably happen, is like that disgusting liquid that comes out when the blister is punctured… Like a blister, the puncturing and the cleaning out of the wound are likely to be extremely painful and uncomfortable. But just like the relief you feel when the blister is gone and everything cleaned up, you will feel better for addressing what needs to be addressed. You will get that fresh clean mental slate you need to start rebuilding whatever it is that you need to rebuild in your life. Keeping the journal going is like maintenance work, so that if everything starts to blister up, it won’t become as bad.

 

When you self-improve, you will lose people.

Not everyone is going to like the new you. Losing friends or in some cases family from your life can be a relief, especially if they’re holding you back from who you want to be, or it can be very painful. People appear in your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. So rest assured that the lifetime people will find their way back to you. It may just be that they’re behind you in their development journey. But don’t wait for anyone to catch up with you. Keep going, because stopping or regressing in your journey will not get you where you want to be.

 

Improving yourself has the potential to make you very powerful.

When you are in a good place where your thoughts are more positive, less cluttered, your inner monologue strengthens you and you genuinely love yourself, you are gonna be on fire! This doesn’t mean that life will be perfect and you’ll wake up on a natural high every day. But your sense of general mental wellbeing will make it easier to go through those shitty days we all get from time to time. And when your self-development journey has taken you far enough, you will probably be able to see the beauty in the bad emotions. For example I had a very awful break-up three years ago that left me out of bounce for a very long time. But thinking back to that break-up I remember a lot of beautiful things about that time that I didn’t see then. For instance I spent a lot of time alone thinking and that developed me into a better version of myself. Had I been where I am now, I probably would have been able to take comfort in the things that weren’t so bad a lot quicker than I did back then. I’m by no means trying to glorify bad days or grief of any kind. But being in a good place mentally can help you turn the sadness into usefulness. When I feel down now, I journal and then do some songwriting. It helps.

 

Believe in yourself.

I have met religious people who put all their trust in God, who are puzzled at how they are not progressing while their atheist counterpart is doing swimmingly. Dig a little deeper into those people and the issue become clear. They feel unconfident in themselves and their abilities while the atheist has a lot of self-belief. What I’m trying to say is that whatever you may believe in, you can’t reap the benefits of your own abilities unless you actively decide to believe in yourself. “God will do it for me while I just tag along,” isn’t a good attitude. If you believe that God created you in his image and that he has a plan for your life, the least you can do to honour God, is to speak positivity into your life and take the necessary action to achieve what you want to achieve. Prayer, meditation or self-reflection, depending on what you believe in, is also a necessary step to achieve what you want. Because what they all essentially are, is your mind focusing on one issue. That alone, won’t get you where you need to be, but together with actions, it’s powerful and keeps your thoughts tidier.

 

It’s ok to be a little selfish

Not in that negative me first, me all the time, kind of way. But taking timeouts or making sacrifices in order to achieve your goals is something every expert encourages. Your friends might not understand why you choose to be at home on a Friday night, or why you don’t use social media or drink alcohol. It’s important not to be discouraged by this though. In order for you to become the best you, your need for space or new healthy practices should be high priorities. Self-development happens differently for everyone and in different phases. So it might just be that you need a short timeout from what you used to do. But don’t let anybody pressure you. As a friend who might not be going through this process now because you’ve either done it, or you aren’t there yet, encourage your friend to take the time they need for themselves. As long as it’s a positive withdrawal that doesn’t seem to stem in mental health issues, you have nothing to worry about.

 

Finally, have fun along the way.

Are you ready to take the step and improve your life? Enjoy your journey and all the blessings and good things that will follow. Take as big or as small steps as you need and share it with as few or as many as you like, though don’t exhaust yourself. Choosing 1 thing to focus on each month and achieve it is better than choosing ten things and achieving only a couple, so bare that in mind. As much as it can be painful and serious, it’s also fun and joyful.

 

Write down a list of what you do, then a list of what makes you happy and adjust accordingly where you can. You deserve to be happy and have the best life you possibly can have.

Self-improvement lesson 2. It’s not you, it’s them!

This is perhaps the most powerful lesson I’ve learned. I guess we’ve all been in situations where we’ve been unfairly criticized by someone we know, or being knocked down about our ambitions and goals for no reason. And unless you know you’re receiving some form of constructive criticism, I can almost certainly tell you that the negativity you receive is the insecurities and envies of the person doing it.

 

This should really make sense. We’ve all been in a place where we might envy somebody, generally had a shitty day, or just felt that everyone else seems to do so much better than us, and come with crass remarks we don’t really mean when someone is being all positive. Or if not, the thoughts of what you’d like to say to them might have been there. But it can be very easy to forget this. Especially if the person knocking you down is someone close to you and if the thing they’re discouraging you from is a dream you’ve had for a long time.

 

When I decided to pursue my music, I received quite a few negative comments. Some of them were concerns for my wellbeing, but in hindsight I know a number of the comments were envy from people who’d never had the guts to pursue their dreams or people who had failed as musicians.

 

The next time somebody is being especially harsh towards you, just stop for a second and put yourself in their shoes, or try to see it from their point of view. Instead of getting defensive, ask yourself what’s going on in their life for them to be the way they are. You’ll probably still feel hurt by their words, but you’ll save a lot of energy that you might previously have used to analyse why, how and are they right. Constructive criticism usually comes out of good conversations and has a whole different feel to it. And whilst we never need to be knocked down, a dose of honest criticism is something we should appreciate.

 

I’ve also noticed that some people thrive on fighting and constant disagreement, because it’s a way for them to keep you in their life. Especially if they know that you wouldn’t necessarily be there otherwise, if you have nothing in common. So in some twisted way, it can be a compliment if someone is constantly aggressive towards you. But whether you’d like such a presence in your life is up to you. I know I can’t deal with it, because it drains my energy. So I move away from those situations. I firmly believe that if someone is meant to be in your life for more than a season or a reason, they will come back. In this instance, meaning that those people who approach you with negativity will come back to you differently. And if not, it’s okay. Especially if you’ve done what’s in your power to improve things.