Inside: how to live a positive life – reframing negative mindsets into positive ones
You’ve heard that age-old question, is the glass half-full or half-empty? But have you ever noticed that people who call themselves “realistic” invariably call that glass half-empty? And they’re not lying.
To them, the glass is definitely half-empty, and that is their reality. But it’s only that because those people view life through the prism of negativity. Not good, not enough, not quite… How sad.
So today, let’s talk about the stories we tell ourselves and ways to take to turn the prism of negativity into one of positivity.
This one goes hand-in-hand with glass half-empty. It’s a focus on what you’re lacking or might lack one day.
Fear of missing out (FOMO) is the belief that if you don’t buy or keep something now, it won’t be available later. And it may well not be, but there will be something else that will serve your purpose.
I see this a lot in decluttering – people hanging onto things because they might come in handy one day. That extra tub in your shed? It’ll rust right through before you get around to remodeling your bathroom, and by then, you’ll want a walk-in shower anyway.
And those packs of scrapbook paper you forgot you had? You haven’t used them since you bought them in the March Madness sale ten years ago and your style has completely changed in the meantime.
Just let these things go. If you ever do decide you must have them again, you can buy them when you’re ready to use them. Or something similar but more in keeping with your current style and needs. For a positive life, think abundance.
I have to [do something]
How often do you think or say, “ugh! I have to do ____ today”? It sounds and feels like a chore, doesn’t it? You have to do something like it’s imposed on you by someone else. Not fun.
But what if you reframed it instead and said, “I get to do _____ today.” Totally different, right? Because when you get to do something, there’s an inherent joy in it, something good that you are anticipating or that you are celebrating.
Even going to work in a stressful environment can be reframed that way. Sure, you could think, “ugh, I have to go to work,” drag all morning, and still make it to your desk on time.
But when you think, “yay, I get to go to work today,” you celebrate the fact that you woke up alive (and you know some people didn’t today) and that you have a job (which you know many people don’t). And you can also start looking forward to the good things that happen there, even if they are precious few.
Because when you focus on those moments of joy and anticipate them, you’re guaranteed to find more of them as you go along. Doesn’t that make for a much better morning already? Gratitude is a serious game-changer in living a more positive life.
Failure as a trait
Have you ever watched a little kid learn to walk? She takes a step or two… and falls down. Maybe she cries a few tears, but then she gets up and takes a few more steps before she falls again.
She does this over and over, until one day she doesn’t fall. And the next day she doesn’t fall. And eventually, she learns to run.
Those falls, every single one of them, were failures. But the kiddo didn’t just sit there thinking, “I’m such a failure, I fell twice now, better not even try this walking thing anymore.” That would be completely silly, right?
But adults do this all. the. time. They try something once, it doesn’t quite work, they get frustrated and give up. They don’t want to try again because they don’t want to fail.
Because somewhere along the way, someone taught them that failure is an endpoint. And that someone deserves a special place in hell if you ask me. Because this message gets internalized as “I’m a failure” or “I’m no good.” And that is just not true.
Failure is but a step on your way to success. An invitation, if you will, to try again and try differently. You need to fail many times because you need to find all the ways things don’t work so that you’ll recognize the ones that do.
So celebrate failure and know that it doesn’t define you. Little kids know this. We’re meant to live life with a positive attitude and happiness.
I’m not [good at something]
Hmm… do you ever say things like “I’m not techy” or “I’m not good at math” or anything along those lines? To that, I say rubbish.
Let’s go back to the kid learning to walk. Is she thinking, “I can’t walk” and just leaving it at that? No, of course not. Her mindset is more like, “I can’t walk yet, but I’m learning.”
So how about next time you catch yourself saying you’re not techy/math-wiz/your favorite word for what you’re not, reframe it by adding that little word, yet, at the end.
Oh, and if you ever say you’re not creative, even though you sew, make jewelry, scrapbook, or do any other craft, don’t add yet. Change the sentence entirely. Because if you do any of these things, even if you’re only following a pattern or tutorial, you are already creative.
Worrying about tomorrow
Listen, someone much wiser than me said a long time ago, “worrying is borrowing trouble from tomorrow.” And it’s true.
When you worry, you’re not present in the moment. But the reality is that your worrying doesn’t actually stop the thing from happening tomorrow. It just prevents you from enjoying today, right now.
Let me say that again: when you worry, you do not change the outcome; you only keep yourself from enjoying this moment.
So don’t worry and think positively. It sounds flippant, but it’s not meant to be. By all means, acknowledge your anxiety, fear of the unknown, fear of conflict, or whatever seems to be looming over you. But as you acknowledge it, tell yourself you’ll cross that bridge when you get to it. And release it until then so you can enjoy today.
The main difference between an adventure and an ordeal is attitude. You hold the key to living a more positive life. Use it often, and when you feel the old mindsets creeping in, reframe the situation in a positive way. Let your life be a fun adventure!