Once upon a time I considered myself a natural pessimist. After a while, I decided that didn’t carry such a nice ring so I called myself a realist. My assumption was that optimists were just the people that were born naturally positive. You know those people? The positive people that always see the glass half full and believe things will always turn out ok. I am married to one such person, and too often he was right and things did turn out ok even when it looked like they wouldn’t. That is maddening to those of us who are naturally pessimistic — um, I mean realists.
I’m not sure when the aha came for me, but one day I realized that I, too – a naturally born realist – could CHOOSE to be positively optimistic. What? I have a choice even in this? Wow! But how?
The first key is awareness. I chose to step out of the denial that said I was born that way and had no choice in the matter. When I was no longer in denial, I could see the reality of my attitude – it stunk! Awareness stings. I realized I wasn’t perfect and I wasn’t right. I became aware that I needed things to turn out poorly so I could be right about my belief that things often turn out poorly. (That sounds terrible as I write it!)
I also became aware that my negativity was contagious. Have you ever noticed that negativity breeds more negativity which breeds more negativity which can turn the focus of your entire day? It is so easy to allow the negativity of others to create negativity in the outlook of your day. Just look through Facebook. Negative people read negative posts, comment on those posts then post their own negative posts. Then those people get in cars, shop in stores, engage their families and carry that negativity all over this world. It sounds dramatic because it is.
In my next post I will share some practical action steps that helped me see and choose to live on the positive side of the street where extraordinary people live. Until then, how about some negativity awareness? Are you breeding negativity – on Facebook, in your family, in your workplace, at the grocery store, behind the wheel? What excuses are you making for that negativity? Awareness is the first key.