Last week, I explored what it's like letting go of negativity. This week, I'm going to continue the movement towards a healthier and happier life, and share my experience with embracing positivity. It's a radical shift, to be sure, and one that requires a strong desire to better and invest in oneself.
Changing the way I look at the world has been a humbling and truly beautiful experience. Honestly, it began with a realization that I was tired. Tired of carrying the weight and burden of negativity; of living a life where I experienced moments of happiness, but was not genuinely happy. It's truly amazing what we're willing to tolerate in our lives -- especially once we've grown accustomed to it. I had always thought in a manner skewed towards the negative; questioning others and their beliefs under the guise of a "realist" -- as if that justified my behaviour. I became used to feeling down, and held the limiting belief that life was one big crappy sandwich we all took a bite from.
Once that moment came -- that moment when I finally recognized how tiring and energy-draining that negativity is, I threw myself into change. I mean, what did I have to lose at that point? The changes began slow at first -- catching myself in negative self-talk and turning it around, or recognizing a habit that wasn't serving me, and implementing a new routine. It became a series of pattern-interrupts that snowballed and built momentum; I was able to catch negative thoughts and behaviours quicker, and with more consistency. I felt lighter and more free -- and that freedom opened the door to happiness.
You see, I held myself back from being me in the world-at-large. My weird (and hopefully adorable) quirks, dorky sense of humour, and love of having fun were kept safely locked away, for fear of judgment and criticism. I so rigidly crafted myself around what I thought others expected that I really didn't like being me -- or, at least, that version of me. In letting all of that go, I truly became lighter and happier. Lighter because I released those self-imposed burdens, and happier because I stepped into my true and unadulterated self. I firmly believe -- with my own experience as proof enough for me -- that when we live our lives in alignment with our truth and true selves, we cannot help but experience joy and happiness. Naturally, negativity does come along -- in any number of ways. However, those moments are fleeting and pass by, with our "default" state being one of peace and joy.
It's bizarre to think of the person I was not but a few years ago. How much difference I've made in my life, and the drastically different path I've set out on. There was no magical switch that I flipped to make this change, mind you. Building awareness and being introspective is an entirely involved process. Thankfully, I've learned some consistent habits that I employ to continue my journey towards positivity, and I'd love to share a few of them with you:
Smiling has been proven to biologically improve our mood, through the endorphins released, and the positive association with it. I smile at everyone I meet because it makes me feel good, and if I can provide a bright spot in someone else's day, then I feel even better!
I've never lacked gratitude or acted/felt entitled, though I did not practice it to the extent I do now. I appreciated the wonderful life I had been given, but felt I wasn't worthy or deserving of it. Letting go of those limitations has allowed me to be grateful for so much more in life than I was before -- realizing every moment is to be valued and appreciated.
Asking myself better questions
Wondering and lamenting, "How am I going to make it through today?" leaves us in a state of distress and anxiety that can quickly shift to negativity and resentment. I asked myself questions like this all the time, so it's no wonder I thought and felt the way I did. Now, I ask myself smarter, more intelligent and empowering questions like, "What amazing things am I going to accomplish today?". My attitude and life have made a massive turn-around as a result.
Letting me be me
I mentioned earlier that I closed off my true self from the world, in a response to fear. I no longer do that. Today, I let myself be truly and unequivocally myself. Maybe someone thinks I'm silly; maybe a nerd; perhaps even a little weird. I love it. I love it, because I love myself. Others have their perceptions, and I don't concern myself with them. I live my true self because it makes me happy and just feels so damned good to do so.
There are countless other examples and methods to move towards embracing positivity, and if you can find those which speak to you and your truth, you can make a similar shift. You owe it to yourself to let go of the negativity you hold onto, and even more so to let the world see the amazing person that you are by embracing your positivity. Shine brightly and beautifully, because doing so makes the world a much more awesome place to live in!