How the power of positive thinking changed my life!
“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston Churchill.
Ok, so it’s not often I find myself quoting Churchill but, in this situation, it’s relevant. If you’ve read my blogs then it won’t come as a surprise to you that I try to look at life with a ‘half glass full’ kind of perspective (Staying positive with Bethan wouldn’t quite work if I was more of a glass empty person) but, I haven’t always been this way.
Finding optimism in the darkest of times is not easy. It’s taken me years to be able to adopt this new way of thinking and approach life with a brighter outlook and it’s something I actively must work at, some days more than others.
If we go back a few years, I’d say I was more of a pessimist. As the quote says, I would always see the difficulty in situations and most of the time I would expect a negative outcome. The funny thing is that’s usually what happened. I’m not going to start talking about manifesting as I know it’s not to everyone’s flavour (although I do think there is some validity in it) but, from personal experience I do believe if you expect the worst, usually the worst tends to happen. Think about it, have you ever been in a situation where things seem to go from bad to worse and bad things keep happening one after the other? My guess is, on that day your mood was less than great and you were giving off negative energy. Of course, I’m not saying having a positive outlook can stop that completely, nor can a positive outlook be the answer when you’re experiencing difficult situations but it can help you manage these in a way that makes you feel better, even if its just slightly.
Now when faced with something that could easily turn into a pessimistic state of mind, I take a step back, take myself out of the situation even if just momentarily and tell myself this “what’s the worst that can happen here?” You may be thinking why an optimist would think of the worst possible outcome, surely, I should be thinking of the best outcome? BUT there’s method behind this. My past negative thinking often came from a fear of what the outcome would be and so, to overcome that I allow myself to picture the worst. But I also then ask myself this question. “If the worst happened, is it really THAT bad?” And the answer to that is almost always no. Even when we hit our bottom (which I have, many times) there is always a way out. When things don’t go to plan and life comes at us with a wrecking ball, we get through it and we find a new plan. Hard times don’t last forever but thinking about them or expecting hard times to come again, will no doubt prolong that internal fear you have. I often think the best and most life changing moments come from those wrecking balls, even if we can’t see it at the time.
So, how has the power of positive thinking changed my life?
I no longer internalise and stress over things out of my control (most of the time – I’m only human after all) Instead of dwelling on things that don’t go to plan I think about what I can do to change the outcome next time or come up with a new plan. I communicate my feelings when I’m feeling negative instead of holding them in. If I am feeling upset about something, I talk this through with a friend because believe it or not, other people are quite good at helping you to rationalise your thoughts and it makes you realise that things aren’t quite as bad as they may seem. I set myself small goals and work towards them and I put things in place to help me shape the life I want. Sure, I accept that sometimes things don’t go to plan, but I know that things will always work out in the end.
The old Beth once said, ‘I hate exercise’ and now, I do CrossFit, I’ve ran a half marathon and I’m the fittest I have ever been in my life. I once would have hidden my love for writing out of fear of what others would think and now you can’t stop me writing. I would tell myself so often that I couldn’t achieve things but now I know, without a doubt that I will achieve the things I want, even if the road there isn’t quite clear yet.
Since taking this approach, life has been so much more fulfilling. I’ve been blessed with unexpected opportunities and great things (no matter how small or personal) keep happening. So, why not give it a go?
Read a book. Listen to a podcast. Fill your days with positive affirmations and knowledge about how a positive mindset can help you with your own life and you’ll be surprised how far that will take you. Learn to recognise the areas in your life you aren’t happy with, or that make you feel pessimistic and think about what you can do to change them. If they can’t be changed, you can certainly look at them in a different light. We can’t control what happens to us but we can control how we feel, how we act and how we perceive the world.
At the very least, learning to change your mindset to think more positively gives you resilience and that’s a skill everyone needs.
Until next time…