How To Keep A Positive Attitude In A Negative World

Photo: getty
woman embracing the sun positivity

By Rebecca Cumming

I spend a great deal of time with positivity.

Sometimes I am one with the sunshine, spreading my flailing arms out the window of my beat-up old car, flying down the road while my man (or BFF) gets mad that I’m playing the same song over and over for the fifth time.

In these moments I am blissful, playful, forward-thinking, and overall heart-healthy. I feel like I can really settle into these pillows that I call a job, family, friends, music, running, and writing and just take a big ol’ happy nap.

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I also spend a lot of time sitting on positivity and squashing it under my wild accusations of how life is beating me up.  

I spend time making positivity disappear like it's last season’s ombré and I must go to the dark side.

I watch myself make the snarky comment, complain about how awful my morning has been, and “can’t this month just be over.” Sometimes, I even watch myself push away people I need the most.

I find that sometimes when life is throwing you a curveball, it is extremely difficult to not let positivity slip away.

When you’ve been looking for jobs for 3 months and the only employer looking to hire you is the Burger King down the street from your childhood home you’ve lived in because you can’t afford your own place. Like don’t I have a college degree? BK is not the king I deserve.

When you reach that moment you and your love aren’t meant to be anymore. And the glamour of the weekend evenings fade, the glimmer of the male attention subsides and you feel... well, alone. And frankly, unlovable.

Do you wonder why the hell is this happening to you? And can’t this awful feeling in the pit of your stomach just go away?

When you feel you aren’t living up to the dreams you had in mind for yourself. That luster for life is below average. You find yourself unsatisfied with the cards you’ve most recently been dealt.

Although you know you are worthy and capable of a straight flush, all you’re dealing with lately is a pair of unlucky damn sevens.

Some might say that this is when we begin to become negative.

Negativity is a tricky thing, you see, because it’s intentionally the opposite of positivity. It’s the I hate you to the I like you and the punch to the hug. It’s the intentional force of sadness, misery, anger, or hostility.

I don’t feel that this is what I experience, and I am sure most people would feel the same.

What is often the case is that we don’t choose to spill negativity unto ourselves, unto the people we love or unto the local coffeehouse barista we just didn’t say thank you to on purpose and huffed at forgetting our latte extremely fricken’ wrong.

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What I am suggesting what we do instead is unintentionally lose our positivity.

We are negative on-accident. We just lose ourselves a little in the madness and our positivity slips a little away.

I find that because I don’t feel the utmost satisfaction, things in my life become also unsatisfactory. I complain a little too much, I lose the bright side in things and worst of all, I can lose perspective.

You didn’t mean to snap at your BFF for re-scheduling your brunch date and cause a riff, because really, in the big picture, you are happy to have her in your life as a friend and glad you are close enough to spend time with her.

You didn’t mean to complain to your desk buddy about how you really wish you could stay in bed all day and work sucks because really in the big picture, you feel lucky to have your health, and your mobility.

You didn’t mean to get angry at your family member for nagging you with questions, because, really, you feel blessed to have someone who cares so much about your well-being.

These moments are what I feel to be my negative-on-accidents. This is when I use reflection as the ultimate tool.

I try to remind myself every day of the things I am thankful for.

I try to change my perspective to reflect on the many others in this world that don’t what I do.

I try to enjoy my less-than-perfect latte while in my head I play over and over all the more-than-perfect things in my life. Whether that be the breakfast sandwich I ate that morning, the hug my girlfriend gave me last night, the phone call from my Mom saying she loves me, or even just the fact that I am healthy and breathing clean air.

We all have these different blessings we sometimes forget to count. Whatever yours are, I encourage you to count them today.

Our mind is a powerful tool. Let’s use it to change our perspective, to reflect, and to use this to get ourselves out of that funk.

It isn’t all bad, and, after all, you aren’t that Negative Nancy that is sometimes making an appearance, you really, positively, are not meaning to lose your positivity.

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Rebecca Cumming is a writer whose work has been featured on Unwritten and YourTango. For more of her content, visit her author's profile on Unwritten.

This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.