As the resident pessimist in my family, group of friends and life in general, it is hard to believe that I am the one writing an article on positivity in the first place. However, I have tried to take the time to improve my perception of life over the past few months. Although it hasn’t been easy, my struggle toward having a more optimistic outlook on life has taught me some valuable lessons about the world around me. In order to help my fellow pessimistic people out, here are five things I’ve learned from being more positive.
1. There’s no time like the present.
It’s easy to focus on the past and all of those who have wronged you. Whether it was a friend who turned out not to be not so nice or a teacher who failed you on an important exam, we all know what it’s like to hold a grudge against someone. However, that kind of bitterness can only lead to a heavy heart that impacts your present and future endeavors. It’s important to live in the present—who cares about that backstabbing best friend who betrayed you a year ago when you have so many other people to fill in her spot? Focusing on the bad vibes from the negative people in your life only deters you from enjoying your life at that moment. No matter how much they have hurt you in the past, don’t let these people bring you down even more—let the negativity go, and your life will only be that much better.
2. Positive attracts positive.
Nobody likes a "Negative Nancy" (and that’s coming from me, the queen of negativity). Being a constant downer only brings down the emotions of everyone around you. You definitely don’t want to be the one that always ends up ruining everybody else’s day, so don’t let your negative emotions affect others. Treat others the way you want to be treated; if you act positive toward others, those around you will be happier and act more positively toward you in return. Isn’t it better to be surrounded by a group of positive people who can always find something good in the world than by a bunch of pessimists who only see the bad?
3. Happiness is a choice.
Although it was a concept that was difficult for me to grasp at first, I’ve come to learn that ultimately, your own happiness is a choice. It’s easy to complain and whine about life whenever something doesn’t go your way, but you can make your own life more enjoyable by accepting the fact that there are some things you cannot change so you just move on. You can literally choose to be positive. You have the power to not let negative vibes affect your life, and to only let in positivity and happiness. Once you come to terms with the fact that you have the ability to choose to be happy, the potential to find happiness seems all the more real.
4. The impossible is possible.
With the right attitude, you are capable of accomplishing anything that you want. Whether it’s that daunting five-page essay due at midnight or the four-mile hike you want to finish, having a positive attitude is a step towards success. Constantly doubting yourself or questioning your own abilities is like running on a treadmill -- you can sprint as fast as you want, but you still won’t be getting anywhere. The path of positivity is the marathon that leads you to the finish line—even the most impossible tasks can be doable.
5. The secret to happiness is self-acceptance.
More than anything, having a positive outlook on life has taught me that the first step towards happiness is accepting yourself, flaws and all. You can never truly be happy until you accept the parts of you that you cannot change, and change the parts of you that you cannot accept. Being positive isn’t about being strong or being the best—it’s about celebrating the parts of yourself that you like, and doing your best to fix the parts that you don’t like. Happiness and positivity stem from accepting every part of yourself and learning to work with what you’ve got. After all, nobody is perfect.
Positivity is a process. There may be days where everything is terrible and all you want to do is lie in bed and cry, and that’s okay. What is important is in the aftermath, when you make the choice to stand back up again, that is the decision that shows not only bravery, but also your optimism in the world around you. More than anything, it shows that you will let nothing stand in the way between you and your happiness, and that is what really matters. We only live once, so why not make it a happy life?