I’m generally a positive person, but is it hard to be a positive person? I look for the good in each day, make lemons out of lemonade and try to practice what I preach. When negative feelings take over it can be hard to feel confident. Today I was overwhelmed and really tried to be a positive person, but it just wasn’t working. I’d be lying if I said each day was easy or that every time I got knocked down I bounced back without a scrape. However I have learned some great ways to feel more positive even on bad days when it feels hard to be a positive person.
Although I thought today was going to be filled with rainbows, butterflies and all that happy stuff, it just wasn’t. I struggled to get the simple things done. The bully in my brain was beating me up, reminding me of how little progress I was making. By the time I sat down to write this I was the poster child for writer’s block. I felt insecure. I struggled with grammar, with simple concepts and my creative energy was gone. I researched stuff I already knew, wasting my time with articles on things that don’t even matter. I was deep in the “Google Black Hole” when all the sudden I found something that transformed my mood (for a little while at least). An article I wrote a few years ago that was actually good.
Why It’s Hard to Be a Positive Person
We spend so much energy trying to outdo ourselves, trying to be better than the person we were yesterday that we forget how awesome we are. Many of us spend most of our time worrying about the future or fixating on past failures that we don’t sit with what’s real: We are only in control of this one moment. Anything else leads to insecure thinking and low self-esteem.
You’ve done a lot of amazing things in your life, from making the team, to graduating, even getting out of bed this morning can be an accomplishment. However, when you’re feeling negative, you forget about how fabulous you are. This is your reminder to look back and give yourself some credit.
The point of this rant is to learn how to embrace the present you and love the old you. Sure, you’ve been around people who’ve hurt you, experienced pain and rejection, but you’ve also endured days that were way worse than today.
I decided that I didn’t want to feel like the positive person who wrote the article, the Emily that was brave and put stuff out into the world that she was proud of. I said to myself, “Emily, do something that makes you feel a little better.”
So instead of looking at the computer screen for another four hours, I decided to call a friend, and then another friend, and then, finally, texted a friend who wanted to hang out. I ate lunch outside, which was okay, I saw a cute dog and played with it, which was fun and I reconnected with my old self for a brief period which was inspiring.
3 Ways to Battle Back When It Feels Hard to Be a Positive Person
- Find something positive in this moment. A common problem, especially when we are feeling down and crappy, is that we look for the negative. We then get stuck. Interrupt those thoughts by looking for something positive in this moment. For me it was a message I received on Facebook from an old friend, then it was the cute dog I got to play with for a minute, then I kept searching for the positive and making mental notes. It began to work.
- Accept the icky feelings. Don’t stuff them away. When you acknowledge and accept the emotions, you can start to think of a plan to feel better. More importantly, you are validating yourself which is key in building confidence and self-awareness.
- Catch the negatives. Along with awareness, catch yourself making negative comments about yourself or others. These are assumptions; your negative mindset is making up stories to keep you feeling icky. Catch them and talk back with facts or with a counter statement that aligns with how you want to feel.
These steps are cumulative; they build a new more confident mindset the more you use them. Practice till you get there and you will see progress. Reassess along the way and see how your confidence and positive energy grows. Trust me, it does work when you embrace the current feelings and work the tips above. Remember, you have unique and valuable gifts to bring to the world, learn to embrace them even when it feels hard to be a positive person.
Emily is a psychotherapist, she is intensively trained in DBT, she the author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are. You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.