When I was doing my previous job, the one I loved doing before I gave it all up to become a full time writer and have the very best time of my life, I was still the happy soul I am today. I used to sing while I was working. I’d smile, joke, hug people and generally enjoy myself. Once I played the track James Brown’s I Feel Good and incited people to get on tables and dance. I am like that, spontaneous and cheerful.
Then, out of the blue, one day a colleague passed me and threw me a dagger-look of pure anger and hissed ‘Why are you always so bloody positive?’
I laughed, then stopped laughing and wondered why she was feeling so negative. Perhaps she was unwell or someone she cared about was unwell. Perhaps she had anxieties or problems which caused her to be grumpy. So I became even nicer to her. She shortly left her job and went to live in a place where the sun shone every day.
I saw her a week ago and she looked great. The worries of the job were behind her, she had a really good view of the world.It was nice to see her feeling so happy about life.
Positive Mental Attitude is not always easy to achieve but it really helps if we can try to use it in our everyday lives.
My Dad was a glass-half-empty person and I completely understand why. His life was the dregs at the bottom of the bottle most of the time and he did really well to make the glass even half full. He was at his best when he was laughing, dancing on neighbour’s walls and making mischief, or finishing off the contents of a glass. I really admire him for making the most of nothing and I feel privileged that we’re so much luckier nowadays.
Having a PMA is something we can all work towards and I can think of some strategies to keep positive even when the excrement hits the cooling device.
- First of all, you might choose to have a sankalpa, a positive message or affirmation you repeat to yourself, a promise from the heart which is repeated daily or even more frequently with a determination to succeed. It may be in two parts: firstly, a statement about something already in place, such as ‘I accept and love who I am.’ The second is a resolution or a goal you would like to become a way of life, such as ‘I am open to the opportunities life will offer me.’ Perhaps it is wise to spend a few days thinking about and choosing the right sankalpa so that it is meaningful to you and will become part of your daily routine. Say your sankalpa three times, when you are relaxed or meditating, and it will impress itself onto the subconscious and become a mantra to help you move forward. Say it three times before going to sleep. You might like to research this further: I recommend swami Satyananada Saraswati’s book Yoga Nidra.
- Don’t dwell on what others say to you or about you. Their opinions are theirs, not yours. Whether what they are saying is positive or negative, it cannot affect you unless you let it. Of course, if you want to accept a kindness or a compliment from someone else, then thank them and return the positivity, but remember it is only ever their opinion and that neither embodies them nor you. We are more than just what we say and think. We are not simply defined by our feelings or our words.
- Move forward from difficult situations. Again, those situations which make us feel stuck and uncomfortable do not define us. Give yourself a time limit. Say ‘I will allow this to bother me for an hour, then I will stop.’ Write whatever is difficult on a piece of paper and throw it away or burn it. Allow yourself to move forward and…
- Forgive yourself. You will get things wrong, mess up, make mistakes, need to start again. Try not to blame yourself or others as that is just a way of stopping yourself moving forward. We fall down, we get up, we walk a bit straighter. It’s ok to get it wrong, smile, say sorry and move on. Life is full of all sorts of lessons but self punishment isn’t one of them.
- You control what you feel and how you react. Nobody else does. You are master of yourself.Or mistress.Nobody knows you better than you do so, finally, what you decide is always down to you. Enjoy that privileged position and own it.
- Embrace life, enjoy what is happening now in the knowledge that we are here to experience every moment whether things change or stay the same. Learn from any challenges and move forward without feeling guilty, just educated instead.
- Love yourself and reflect it on other people. Cream called it ‘Sunshine of your love.’ Radiate happiness, and positivity will come back to you.
- Play good positive music to lift your spirits. Happy music, music you love, which makes you smile, sing, dance. Start wearing purple. .Avoid Bobby Goldsboro’s Honey like the plague at all times.
PMA comes with a warning though. The Pollyanna- head-in-the-clouds attitude, belief that the world’s all lovely and nice and honey will fall from the skies and positive thinking will transform all things bad is simply not real, it’s what comes out of the back end of a male cow.
Be realistic, grounded, rooted and aware of the negativity which is around us.There are curmudgeons and misanthropes and grumps, people who are genuinely unhappy and some of the time things may not always go well for people so they have good reason to be sad. So people who beam relentlessly in the face of adversity and greet every negative situation with a cheesy ‘Peace and love and wait for the karma to come around ‘ can be quite annoying to the average person, and a bit of empathy is a very useful attribute when faced with someone who isn’t seeing the world from the highest vantage point.
Think of my poor work colleague. My positive attitude really annoyed her and spoiled her day.That was far from my intention but she was clearly seeking the solace of those people she felt an affinity with: people she could complain with and then empathise with.
The answer then is to spend time with those you love and enjoy the company of good people. Enjoy your own company too- after all, you are good company.And if you can shed off any burdens which weigh life down, then it can’t do any harm.
It’s fine to go for your dreams but give people respect while you are doing it. Believe you can do it, whatever it is, and then you will, but also be aware that if you don’t, it’s no big deal. Next time you’ll nail it.