Picture this…

You’re currently only one week away from experiencing the vacation that you have been planning for months. You’ve been working hard day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year, and you’ve finally decided that you deserve to cash in on your vacation time that you have never taken advantage of. You smile intensely as you realize that in a week from now you’ll be lying on the beach and sipping ice cold Mai Tai’s under a rainbow beach umbrella as you wiggle your toes in the warm sand while you look out on to the picturesque background of the majestic waves rolling back and forth in the clear blue ocean water with sun blazing bright and high in the cloudless sky.

And because you don’t want to wait around until the last minute to get your bag packed, you decide that you are going to get everything ready to go now. You walk over to your closet and shift through all of the countless clothes that you have hanging up until you reach the back of your closet and lay eyes upon your big blue duffle bag that is practically brand new, since the last and only time you used it was five years ago when you took your last vacation. You drag it out from your closet, knocking over a few shoes in the process, and throw the bag down on top of your bed.

Flitting across your room, you go from drawer to dresser, to closet, to suitcase, and back again, gathering all of the items that you’ll need on your vacation. You throw in swim suits, tank tops, shorts, sandals, and a host of other items that you think you may need on your trip.

After you have everything in your bag that you think you need, you pull the sides together and attempt to zip it. You get about a fourth of the way up your duffle bag before you can’t pull the zipper closed anymore. Looking down at the bag, you recognize that you have two options. You can either take out some of your stuff or you can put the new muscles that you’ve gained from going to gym after work to use and try and zip your duffle bag closed. After mulling over the options in your mind for about a minute, you decide that you’re going to go with option two. You roll your duffle bag over on to its side and throw your body on top of it. While your full body weight is lying down on top of your bag, you extend your right arm to the zipper and resume pulling the zipper closed. When you get done zipping up your duffle bag halfway, you give your right arm a break and take your left hand and continue tugging at the zipper until your bag is completely closed. Feeling accomplished, you climb off of your bag, exhale the breath that you’ve been holding in for the past minute, wipe off the beads of sweat that have accumulated on your upper lip from your battle with your duffle bag, and then you prepare to move your bag off of your bed.

Grabbing the handle, you pull the bag with all of your might, but it doesn’t take you long to realize that even with all the extra time you’ve been spending at the gym, you’ll be lucky if you can drag your duffle bag from your bed to your bedroom door that’s all of 7 and a half feet away from you.

Sighing, you decide that you need to get rid of some of things in your bag. Unzipping the zipper that you just spent the last fifteen minutes pulling closed, you let your bag fall open. As you rummage through your duffle bag and assess what you can actually get rid of, you notice that you have packed an unnecessarily large amount of items that you have absolutely no need for in a tropical paradise.

After five short minutes of cutting back on your unnecessary vacation items, you have a considerable amount of more room in your bag. Laughing quietly to yourself, you wonder why you even decided to pack your rain boots, three jackets, two pairs of sweat pants, a hair dryer, two extra brushes, and all five of the A Game of Thrones book series. After surveying your suitcase one more time to make sure that you rid the bag of all pointless clutter, you zip it up and effortlessly carry your duffle bag to the front door.

Positive thinker, there are probably things in your life right now that you are holding on to that you should just let go of. Carrying that problem, worry, fear, or doubt around with you on a daily basis can only make your life that much more difficult to deal with. These problems can become burdensome and can start to feel like a heavy weight that you have to carry around with you 24/7 and can’t ever seem to shake off.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are worrisome things that you can’t let go of that you need to carry around with you everyday. Giving up on worrying about certain things may actual cause you more harm than good. You probably shouldn’t stop caring completely about a chronic health problem or a debt that you need to pay off, but there are plenty of things that you are probably holding on to that you do not have any control over that you can let go of. It’s not necessary to hold on to anger from past break-ups, and you can’t control the fact that not everyone likes you, and it would do you a world of good to stop obsessing over the fact that you didn’t get the dream job that you applied for, especially since the fact that you didn’t get the job is beyond your control.

Positive thinker, I challenge you to make the decision to let go of some of those burdensome things that you are carrying around with you from day to day.

Let go of those unnecessary fears that are causing you pain.

Get rid of the shame that keeps you up at night.

Cast away the needless doubts that are weighing you down like an anchor holding back a ship.

And eliminate that guilt and resentment that you’ve been holding on to.

When you stop harboring on to things that cause you pain, you open up more space into your life. Space, that can allow you to let in more things that cause you joy instead of pain. Positive thinker, letting go of these troublesome things is only going to make your life brighter and lighter. So what are you waiting for? Commit to making a change that will get rid of your excess baggage.

Remember positive thinker, “Knowledge is learning something everyday. Wisdom is letting go of something everyday.” –Zen proverb

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Most of the time when we think of vacuums, we think of them as being a generally helpful item to have around the house. If your carpet is full of dirt, bits of hair that you’ve shed, crumbs from food that you dropped off of your plate, and millions of tiny pieces of ripped up paper from the first draft of your business proposal that you hated, then a vacuum can come in handy.

Even though vacuums can clean up messes that we don’t want lying around on our floor, they can also end up sucking up things that we didn’t mean to get sucked up. Things, that are of great importance to us…

Keeping that in mind, let’s take a moment to look at this scenario…

Carol has been putting off vacuuming her floor for awhile now. Over the past few months she has let dirt and trash pile up on her floor, and she hasn’t been able to get around to cleaning it up because between her new job and the school work for the online class she started taking last month and between balancing her time between her new significant other and her friends and family, she simply hasn’t had enough time to tackle the catastrophe that is her bedroom floor.  Now, by some miracle, Carol has found a free day all to herself, and she decides that she’s going to spend her free day cleaning her house. She makes up her mind to get the worst area of her house, her filthy bedroom floor, out of the way first.

As Carol powers up the vacuum, she jumps slightly at the sound of the unfamiliar thunderous sound that’s presently filling the air, and ss she starts to move the vacuum cleaner in a fluid, rhythmic back and forth motion, she marvels at how clean her floor is becoming. Her floor looks practically brand new and she can’t remember the last time she saw it look like that. After about ten minutes of cleaning, her floor looks immaculate, and just as she is about to put the vacuum cleaner away, Carol realizes that she hasn’t gotten the area of the floor underneath her dresser yet. Because the vacuum is too big and bulky to reach under there, she pulls out the vacuum attachment and gets ready to suck up the unsuspecting dirt that lives under her dresser. As she continues to vacuum in the small place under her dresser, she starts to hear a strange noise. The air flow doesn’t sound nearly as strong as it did a few seconds ago, so thinking that something big has gotten stuck in front of the nozzle, Carol pulls out the attachment from under the dresser. As she lifts up the nozzle to her face she notices that the love letter that her great grandmother Jean wrote to her husband, Carol’s great grandfather Bill, while he was overseas fighting in WWI is hovering in front of the opening of the vacuum attachment. She is instantly relieved that the note wasn’t sucked up, and as she goes to move it from in front of the nozzle, Carol accidentally bumps it and the note is sucked up into the vacuum.

Immediately she turns off the vacuum and opens it up to get to the vacuum bag, but unfortunately for Carol, that precious handwritten note that her great grandfather gave to his son, and that he gave to his only daughter, and that she passed down to her, has been shredded into hundreds of little pieces of paper. Carol sifts through every single piece of dirt in that bag until her hands and floor end up becoming dirtier than they were when she first started vacuuming, and after shifting through the vacuum bag for an hour she eventually resigns from the task at hand and acknowledges that the note will never be put back together again.

Positive thinker, if someone is a positive force in your life, then he or she won’t suck up the good in your life. These positive forces will be there to support you and will even occasionally help to suck up the bad things in your life. People who are a negative force will do just the opposite. Those individuals who are negative forces in your life will be like the vacuum in the story above, and they will try and take your happiness away. They’ll suck up everything that you hold dear and valuable in your life so that you are left feeling miserable and discontented.

If you have someone in your life that is sucking up the happiness in your life like a vacuum sucking up a beloved family token then it would be beneficial for you to remove this person from your life. It’s never too late to make a change to get rid of people from your life that make you unhappy. Before that individual sucks up all of your happiness into his or her happiness sucking nozzle, remove yourself from the line of fire and go away from the nozzle before this person has completely taken away your happiness.

Positive thinker, if you want to have a happy life but the people around you are preventing you from being happy because they have a habit of taking away your joy, then make a change to associate with people who help to suck up the bad from your life instead of the good.

Remember positive thinker, “Do not let anyone become a vacuum and suck the happiness out of you. Pull the plug.”

Have you ever tried giving someone a really beat up dollar bill only to have that person reject it because it wasn’t nice enough? You knew when you tried to give the dollar to this person that this dollar bill had gone through hell and back while it was in your possession. That dollar was dropped in mud, washed in your washing machine, dried in your dryer, drooled on by your dog, stepped on, ripped into two piece, taped back together, dropped in mud again, and then crumpled up and put into your pocket after you wiped it off haphazardly on a leaf that you found next to the mud puddle, and now after all of this torment that you have put this helpless dollar bill through, you decide to pass it on to an unsuspecting individual that you owe a dollar to. After pulling out this crumpled up and dirty dollar from your pocket, your creditor ultimately refuses the bill because of its ghastly state. This person thinks that the dollar bill that you are trying to hand over is not as valuable as a clean and new looking dollar bill.

The truth of the matter is that that dollar is still worth a dollar whether that person believes that it’s worth a dollar or not. If you try and buy something with that dollar the cashier isn’t going to not take it just because it doesn’t look good. The dollar’s worth didn’t change just because you’ve put it through the wringer. A dollar is worth a dollar whether it’s a newly printed bill or a bill that spent a week lying in a sewer.

The same can be said for us positive thinker. Sometimes we are led to believe that we are not good enough just because of some less than favorable life events that we have gone through.

Now and then you hear people tell you that you’re not worthy because of x and that you’re not valuable because of y and z. And after hearing those hurtful things over and over again, you may start to believe it, and actually start to change the way you look at yourself because of how other people look at you. Their negative views may start to become your own negative self-views, and then it becomes more and more difficult for you to love yourself because you’ve been bombarded by people who are constantly trying to define your worth.

They tell you that you’re not as valuable if your shorts are too short or if your pants are too saggy.

They say that you’re worth decreases if you don’t act in a respectable way.

They turn their noses up at you if you’re a little bit too liberal with your sexuality.

They gawk and stare at you if you go out one night and drink too much.

You’re not important if you’re not smart enough, if you don’t make enough money, or if you don’t believe in the same god as the person who is looking down on you does.

Positive thinker, even if some of these are your truths, this shouldn’t lead you to view yourself as less worthy than those people who do not hold these particular instances to be their truths.

There are always going to be reasons out there that lead people to believe that you’re not worth anything, but we can’t give into believing them because it’s your worth positive thinker, not their worth.

Your entire life isn’t made up of “bad” moments like the ones described above, so your worth shouldn’t be only dictated by these moments either. There are many great things about you, and you should not allow a handful, or even a truck full, of questionable moments to make you think less of yourself, even if other people do think less of you for it.

If that dollar bill that your friend didn’t accept because of its appearance was a living breathing entity it wouldn’t think that its value was decreased just because it was tossed around without any consideration because, at the end of the day, the dollar would know that it was worth a dollar no matter what happened to it. Likewise, your worth does not loose value just because someone else can’t see how truly great you are. It doesn’t matter what you go through or who says what about you because your worth is not defined by someone else. It’s defined by you.

Remember positive thinkers, “Your value does not decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.” –Unknown

Picture This…

You’re at your favorite amusement park with three of your closest friends. You’ve been to this theme park countless of times before and every time you step foot inside this joyous place you can’t help but smile a grin that stretches from ear to ear because you know that you’re going to have a great fun-filled day. With childlike excitement you go on ride after ride after ride. You eat all of your favorite foods at all of your favorite spots, you share in some side-splitting laughs with your good friends as you’re waiting in line for all of the rides, you take pictures with each and every one of the goofy and bubbly characters that you cross paths with, and you go to see all of the shows that this wonderful theme park has to offer you. Next thing you know, you’re looking down at your watch and realizing that you only have an hour and a half left before the park closes.

One of your friends speaks up after he also notices what time it is and says, “Let’s go on one more ride!” All four of you agree instantaneously that you should definitely try and get on one more ride before you run out of time. Just as you finish murmuring your assents, another one of your friends suggests that your last ride for the day should be the one ride that you have been afraid of going on ever since your first visit to the park years and years ago.

At once you speak up. “I’m not going on that thing! Are you crazy?”

“Why? It’s so much fun!” Your friend answers back.

“Maybe because I don’t have a death wish,” you reply as you feel your heart rate start to increase ten fold.

“It’s really not that bad,” your best friend states matter-of-factly.

“Well I’m not going,” you say with a swift fold of your arms and a note of finality in your voice, “I’m way too scared.”

After about fifteen minutes of trying to convince you to get on the ride, you give up and agree to get on. “My friends have all gone on this ride multiple times and they’re all fine,” you say to yourself, “so I should be fine to get on it just this once. Besides, how bad could it be anyway?”

As you walk up to the front entrance of the ride, arm in arm with your best friend, you look up at the towering, winding coaster and immediately question your sanity for agreeing to get on this ride. Just as you are about to object again, your friend tugs you forward with her arm and ushers you into the line. With each step closer and closer to the front of the ride and with every inch your foot moves you can feel your heart pounding faster and faster. By the time you take your seat in the ride 45 minutes later, you’re sure that your heart is going to burst out from your chest at any moment. As the lap bar closes over your legs, sealing your fate, your friend gives your hand one last gentle squeeze as your cart takes off.

The first thing you feel is the icy night sky piercing your cheeks as the cart takes and pushes you forward at a pace that makes The Flash look like he’s taking a leisurely stroll. You feel your hair whipping back and forth and dancing in the wind to the clicking and clacking of the wheels of your cart connecting with the metal of the monstrous coaster. You feel your stomach drop with excitement with every twist and turn that the ride takes. And you may be screaming at the top of your lungs, but you’re enjoying every single solitary second of this ride that you had avoided for ages.

When your cart pulls up to the exit after the ride is complete, your friend turns to you with an all too familiar smile as she gently nudges your ribs with her elbow as she asks you, “Soooo what did you think of the ride?” You can tell by the smug look on her face that she already knows the answer to her own question, I mean after all, she was sitting right next you the entire time and could see that you were thoroughly enjoying the ride. Unable to hide your excitement, you laugh a short happy laugh and say, “It was amazing!”

Positive thinker, many times the only person that’s preventing you from living your life to the fullest is you. You hear this little voice in your head that tells you that you can’t do something for x, y, and z reason, but that voice doesn’t always have your best interest at heart. It tries to convince you that you can’t do something by coming up with every possible scenario where you will fail at doing that thing that you’re so afraid to do. That voice can’t imagine you succeeding, so all it does is tell you that you won’t succeed.

We can all probably think of a time when we were too afraid for whatever reason to go through with something. I’m also sure that you have looked back on that moment and wondered what would have happened if you had tried doing that very thing that you feared so much.

On the other hand, we have all also probably gone through with something even though we were terrified to do it. Go ahead and try to remember one of those moments. How did you feel after completing that daunting task? I bet you felt pretty great about yourself, and as you sit there thinking about that moment, you’re also probably thinking that it wasn’t nearly as bad as you made it out to be.

In life, we will always have roller coasters that we are afraid to get on. Sometimes it’s not wanting to apply for a job because you’re afraid that you’re not going to get it. Other times it’s mustering up enough courage to go and talk to that cutie at the back of the bar that you’ve had your eye on ever since you walked in through the door of that bar. And still other times it’s standing up to that person who has been giving you a hard time for no other reason than that he wants to make your life a living hell. It doesn’t matter what form these coasters take because they are always going to be intimidating to us. But sometimes positive thinker we have to say enough is enough. Sometimes we just need to get on that coaster even though we may be afraid of it.

And I know that is a difficult thing to do…

Often times when you become so overwhelmed with fear, all you can think about are all of the other times when you weren’t able to build up enough nerve to get on that rollercoaster and ride it. You fail to remember all of the other menacing coasters that you got on and had fun riding.

Positive thinker, if you ever find yourself hesitant to take a seat on that next new rollercoaster, try thinking of another time when you were able to conquer a different coaster in spite of the fear that you held in your heart. Remember how accomplished you felt after getting off and remember how silly you felt after for ever having been afraid of that coaster in the first place. That memory of successfully getting on a different difficult rollercoaster may be just the push that you need to climb into the cart or your new coaster, strap up your seatbelt, and have the ride of your life.

And when in doubt try and remember the wise words of Ginny Weasely from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: “you sort of start thinking anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.” Even if you’ve never read a single page of Harry Potter before, these words can still help you out when you’re trying to round up enough courage to do that thing that you fear most.

Keep getting on those coasters positive thinker, and as always, keep thinking positive thoughts!

Stress is a natural and reoccurring part of life. The happiest person on the planet even has issues that he or she has to deal with, and if they’re dealing with stress then I’m sure that your life isn’t stress free either. Just take today for instance. You could probably think of a handful of problems that have been gnawing away at the back of your mind all day.

The truth of the matter is, positive thinker, that we all have problems; no one on the face of the planet earth is 100% problem free. We all deal with the day to day stressors that seem to constantly hang over our heads like our own personal cloud of worry. Some of these stressors may be smaller or less daunting than others, but they are stressors all the same.

And if we allow ourselves to become crippled by these things that cause us anxiety and worry then we will end up leading a pretty unhappy life.

But guess what? You don’t have to allow yourself to become crippled by your daily stressors.

When these headaches come our way, we are left with two options. We can either choose to cower away in fear and let these problems overwhelm us until they overtake us completely, or we can stand up to them and beat them down as they come our way.

I don’t know about you, but I think I’m going to choose the second option.

Instead of letting these toxic events wreak havoc on our lives, we can learn to face them head on and continue to persist in spite of these annoyances. Seize control over your problems and find solutions to them, so that you can conquer them and not become weighed down by them. Even if you have tried every possible way that you can think of to solve your problem and you still haven’t had success, tap into other people and resources that can help you get through your crisis. There is always some way out there for you to get through whatever problem you are going through.

We can’t allow these problems to stop us from living our lives in a way that we want to live them.

And we definitely cannot allow them to interfere with how we view ourselves, positive thinker.

Just because our lives aren’t perfect doesn’t make us any less of a person.

We must continue to believe in ourselves even when times get tough because it is in these moments of weakness when we need all of the faith and conviction that we can get. And we must continue to believe in ourselves in all aspects of our lives.

We must believe that we are more than our problems.

We must believe that we have the power to overcome the obstacles that life throws out in front of us.

We must believe that we can utilize our talents to their complete and all-encompassing potential. Each one of us has talents and abilities that we cannot afford to lose confidence in. We have to continue to be assured in ourselves so that we can employ these talents to the best of our abilities. We must always believe in our gifts so that we can continue to strive to use these gifts to become the best version of ourselves that we can become.

Don’t ever lose confidence in yourself positive thinker because when you start to do that it becomes a difficult habit for you to break.

Keep the thoughts that you have about yourself centered on positivity and just wait and see what can happen!

Remember positive thinker, “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” –Marie Curie

Do you remember when you were a child and nothing seemed impossible to you?

When someone asked you, “What do you want to be when you grow up,” you would smile your wide grin with the missing baby teeth and say that you wanted to be a fireman, a president, a singer, and a doctor, and when you said this, you didn’t have the slightest doubt in the world that you would be able to make that dream a reality.

If you could imagine it then you deemed it possible.

If your story is something similar to this then trust me when I say that you are not alone.

We all grew up having big dreams and aspirations, but somewhere along the road reality caught up with us and we realized that we couldn’t grow up to be a fireman, a president, a singer, and a doctor. Society told us that we had to only pick one of these things, and with that, our dream died.

We learned to stop dreaming and to limit our imaginations to only come up with things that seemed obtainable.

The problem with our society is that we are taught to stop following our dreams if they aren’t realistic or practical. We receive negativity whenever we come up with something that is strange or unusual.

Well I’m here to tell you positive thinker that you shouldn’t give up on your dreams just because other people are unable to see your vision.

There are people out there right now that are happy because they followed their “abnormal” dream. There are even people out there right now making millions and millions of dollars for an idea that other people viewed as “weird” or “stupid.”

Do you think that the person who invented the snuggie received a welcome of praise from his family when he said that he was going to sell people what was essentially a backwards robe?

Do you think that the inventors of the magic 8 ball received accolades from their friends when they told them about this toy that could “predict” the future?

And I would be surprised if any of Gary Dahl’s family and friends took him seriously when he said that he was going to sell rocks as pets.

Luckily for these people, they thought of an idea and didn’t allow the restricted mindset of other people to stop them from making their dreams a reality.

These people believed in the validity of their dreams, so what’s stopping you from believing in the validity of your dreams.

And on another note, if people constantly knock your ideas down, don’t let that be a reason to bash the ideas of other people down as well.

Think about how it made you feel when that person or those people made fun of you for that idea that you were so passionate about. Do you really want to make someone else feel that way as well?

Just because someone is trying to bring darkness into your life does not mean that you have permission to bring darkness into another person’s life.

Even if you are unable to see that person’s vision in the same way that he or she sees it, do not tear down that individual. That person may be living in a world that is encompassed by nothing but darkness, but you could be someone who allows for some light to enter into his or her world. Your lack of a negative opinion about that eccentric idea may end up being just what he or she needs to hear to carry on with that dream.

Years ago when you were a child you had a dream, but didn’t follow it because someone couldn’t wrap their minds around your dream, and because of that, the younger version of you is probably standing there right now with his or her arms folded with a shaking head full of disappointment. The child version of you is saying, “What happened to our dream? Why did you give up on it?”

Positive thinker, not following your dreams may have been your narrative in the past, but it doesn’t have to be your narrative now. Here’s your chance to go out and rewrite your story. If you have a dream, don’t let your reason for not pursuing it be that someone else told you that you couldn’t do it.

Remember when you thought the whole world was yours for the taking? Well why not try getting back into that mentality. Stop letting little you down. Wake up every morning saying, “This world is mine for the taking,” and take it!

Little you wouldn’t dream for one second about giving up on his or her dreams, so don’t let big you do it either.

Positive thinker, go out there and be the best fireman/ president/ singer/ doctor the world has ever seen!

And remember, “Never limit yourself because of others’ limited imagination; never limit others because of your own limited imagination.” -Mae Jemison, first African American female astronaut

happy

Wally has just been informed that his friends at Fields Family Counseling Services Inc. have won another award! They were selected as the 2015 Best of Pasadena Awards for Child and Family Counseling! Also, because they have won this award two years in a row, they have also qualified for the Pasadena Business Hall of Fame! Wally was just so excited when he heard about this that he wanted to make sure that all of his friends at Positivity Works could know about this awesome news too!

Happy Wednesday Positive Thinkers!

Part of maintaining a positive attitude includes being able to come to a state of mind where you don’t allow the negative opinions that others have about you to affect you in a terrible way.

Positive thinker, have you ever noticed that some people are able to walk around experiencing complete happiness no matter what comes their way? Part of the secret to their happiness is probably that they have found a way to not let negativity from other people put a damper on their day.

I don’t want you to think that these people are impervious to hearing hurtful things said about them. People definitely do say negative things to them because no one is immune from having harmful opinions thrown their way. Even the smartest, prettiest, funniest, and nicest person in the world has received hurtful comments from other people. However, one of the biggest differences between these happy go-lucky people and those people that can’t seem to find happiness is that they don’t let the negative comments that other people have about them get to them.

And this is by no means an easy feat to accomplish. It takes a lot of work. Not allowing the negative opinions that other people have about you to affect you is not something that you can pick up over night, but it is definitely doable.

Don’t think it will work? Well let me ask you this…

Have you ever told a lie so much that you’ve actually started to believe it?

At first you tell a little white lie to get out of something, and then you keep telling it over and over again. The lie becomes easier and easier to tell and you may even reach a point to where ten years down the road you are only able to remember the lie and you can’t even remember what the truth is anymore.

The lie has now become your truth.

And the truth of the matter is, if you say things enough you may actually start to believe them.

So if this can happen with a lie then why not let it happen with something that will actually make you feel better.

Go ahead and try it positive thinkers! Next time you hear someone say something negative about you that makes you feel bad about yourself, try and brush it off. Tell yourself that just because someone else thinks poorly of you doesn’t mean that you have to think poorly of yourself. And don’t just say this to yourself one time. Keep repeating it to yourself for as long as you need to in order to start believing that what you’re saying is true.

Positive thinker, every time someone says some negative thing about you, you need to have a positive thing that you can readily bring to mind so that you can focus on the good within you instead of on the bad things that other people see about you. And if you’re having problems coming up with good things to focus on, try creating a list of all of the positive attributes that you have about yourself. Put an hour or two aside one night and sit down and seriously work on coming up with an accurate and exhaustive list of every single good thing about yourself that you can think of. No item is too small. If you like the way you laugh then write it down. If you like your smile, then write it down. And make sure not to only focus on your superficial characteristics. Dig down deep and think about some genuine, authentic, and meaningful characteristics that you possess too. Once you have compiled that list, make an effort to get up everyday and read off that list of positive characteristics while looking at yourself in the mirror. If you do this then you’ll be prepared if someone spews hatefulness at you.

Also, bear in mind that there is a difference between being critical and being hurtful just for the sake of being mean. Sometimes you do need to hear things that you don’t necessarily want to hear because accepting constructively critical comments will only make you a better person. If your boss tells you that your work hasn’t been up to par lately then you should probably listen to your boss and fix your work so that you can become the best you you can be at your job, but if someone walks up to you and tells you that your sense of style is atrocious then this would be one of those instances when you need to recognize that this person is just trying to be hurtful instead of critical. This is one of those moments when you should ignore that person and focus on the list of good qualities that you came up with.

Positive thinker, people are going to have bad things to say about you from now until the end of time. That’s just a part of life, but it is up to you to figure out how you’re going to handle it.

You can continue to allow other people’s negative opinions about you to make you think less of yourself or you can try to not let these kinds of comments have that kind of power over you.

Don’t give other people the power to make you feel bad about yourself. If you stop listening to their negativity, and embrace your own positive attitudes about yourself then their opinions won’t be able to affect you so easily.

Keep in mind…

Positivity starts from within.

It starts with how you view yourself.

And remember positive thinker, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

How many times have you heard the phrase: “you (insert action here) like a girl?” One time? 10 times? 50 times? Too many times to count? Even if you’ve never said this phrase before or even if you’ve never had this phrase uttered to you, I’m sure that you’ve heard it said to someone else at least once in your lifetime. I’d also be willing to bet that nine times out of ten times this phrase is used to put someone down.

I’ve heard women say it to other women…

Stacy was having problems with her boyfriend, and so she decided to ask her friend Sarah for advice. Sarah knew exactly what to say because she had witnessed her friend interact negatively with her boyfriend for months now. Sarah spewed her advice to Stacy, but Sarah’s opinions were sloughed off because her advice didn’t hold any merit because it was “totally something that a girl would say.”

I’ve heard men say it to other men…

Paul was out with a group of his male friends, and revealed that he was hurt by how his friends had been treating him as of late. It felt like they had forgotten about him because they had all been spending so much of their free time with their other friends. Just as Paul finished telling his friends about how he felt one of his friends laughed and said, “There’s no need to act like such a girl, man.”

Even though many people have been hurt by the meaning that’s behind the words “like a girl,” it’s true that sometimes this phrase and others like it may not be used with the explicit intent of hurting the person who is being accused of “acting like a girl.”

I’ve heard friends use it amongst themselves jokingly, but even in these circumstances it is still used to cast a negative light down upon the person who is at the center of that joke. They aren’t saying that their friend acts like a girl in order to build him or her up, but they are using it to bring attention to a habit or action that is less than favorable.

And even if it is said as a joke, it can still do damage to young children who do not know any better…

Let’s pretend you’re at a family gathering, a family reunion perhaps, and you’re playing a friendly baseball game with your cousins and siblings that you haven’t seen in ages. It’s your turn to pitch the ball. The sun is beating down on your head and a single bead of sweat drops down your right cheek as you wind the ball up and throw it as hard as you can towards home plate. Now even though you throw the ball with all your might, it comes up incredibly short and doesn’t even make it half way to the home plate before plummeting straight to the ground. Your siblings and all of your cousins instantly break into a fit of laughter, and of course you start to laugh too because, if you’re being honest with yourself, it was a pretty horrible pitch. As the laughter dies down you suddenly hear your big brother say (in a joking matter) that you throw like a girl. You pay it no mind because the pitch that you just threw definitely wasn’t going to win you the greatest pitch of the year award, but you also failed to realize the children around you who just witnessed this interaction between you and your brother.

Later on in the day you walk past your nieces and nephews as they are playing a game of basketball. You stop suddenly when you hear one of your nieces say to her cousin that he runs like a girl. All the other kids start to laugh, and you see your nephew crying because of the hurtful words that were just expressed to him, and so you automatically walk over to the group of kids to try and sort things out. Without hesitation you tell your niece that that’s not a nice thing to say, and she responds by saying, “but I heard daddy say the same thing to you and you didn’t get mad at him.”

Right a way you realize your mistake. While you were able to understand that your brother didn’t mean any harm to you when he said “you throw like a girl,” the kids were not able to pick up on it, and now they’ve made the association that when people don’t do something well that means that they are acting like a girl.

You tell your niece and the rest of the kids standing there that just because someone does something like a girl doesn’t mean that that’s a bad thing. In order to right your wrong, you go on to tell them that there have been women throughout all of history who have made our world a better place just by doing something like a girl.

You say that Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce runs like a girl, and she has won two gold and two silver medals in the Olympics, five gold and two silver medals in the World Championships, and one gold medal in the World Indoor Championships because of her ability to run like a girl.

You say that Lisa Leslie shoots like a girl and has won four Olympic gold medals as a result of it.

Marie Curie conducted science experiments like a girl, and she won a Nobel Prize for it.

Joan of Arc fought like a girl, and was able to lead her French troops to victory during the Battle of Orleans in 1429.

Harriet Tubman cared about injustices like a girl and was able to lead over 300 slaves to freedom as a result.

And Sandra Day O’Connor practiced law like a girl and became the first woman to become a U.S. Supreme Court Justice because of it.

Positive thinkers, we’ve become too desensitized to the negative stigma that is associated with the words “you ___ like a girl.” When you utter these words after someone has failed to do something properly you perpetuate the negative stereotype that women are not as good as men.

If someone doesn’t do something as well as another person, positive thinker, don’t automatically equate that person’s lack of expertise as being “girl like.”

To the women reading this, I ask you, do you really want your words to demonstrate that you think less of your own sex?Instead of putting each other down, we should be trying to lift each other up. Across the world women are treated as second rate citizens to men for no other reason then the fact that they were born with two X chromosomes instead of with one X and one Y chromosome. So, we definitely shouldn’t take part in treating each other as less than men especially when it’s so easy to avoid using the phrase “you ___ like a girl,” in a negative light.

To the men out there, I ask you, do you really want to portray to your daughters, wives, sisters, cousins, friends, mothers, grandmothers, and aunts that you believe that you are superior to them just because of the simple fact that you’re a man? Instead of putting women down, show the women in your life that you believe that they are equal to you.

Positive thinkers, I challenge you to stop associating a lack of talent as being girl-like. The next time someone doesn’t perform well at something that he or she does, don’t tell that person that he or she “___ like a girl,” and whenever a girl or woman does something well try telling her that she does that action “like a girl,” so that we can make a conscious effort to let others know that doing things like a girl can be a good thing. Positive thinkers, let’s attempt to rewrite the discourse around how women are perceived in our society, and let’s make that message one of positivity!

Do you know what I find to be the best part about waking up in the morning? Judging by the title of this blog entry, you can probably already guess what I’m going to say, but if you’re still stumped, don’t worry about it, I’m going to tell you. The absolute best thing about rolling over in my bed and blinking open my eyes after a night’s sleep is that I get a chance to start over again. Each day that I wake up, I am given a brand new slate, and guess what? You are too!

Now, some of you may be thinking that your slate is never completely clean, and that’s partially true. Yes, just because you yelled at one of your coworkers for not contributing properly to your presentation doesn’t mean that it has to happen again today, but what about those big things that tend to hang around you raining down on your parade, causing you uneasiness throughout your life?

It’s true that those kinds of troublesome slates are never truly wiped clean, but it’s equally true that there are ways for you to deal with them. Instead of allowing the slates that are full of bad moments to continue to weigh down heavily upon you until they become too much to bear, try waking up each morning and saying this mantra: “I may have messed up in my life by (insert mistake here) or I may be troubled by (insert problem here) at times, but I refuse to let this (slip-up/problem) have control over me. I refuse to give it the power it needs to destroy my life. Instead I choose to learn and grow from it. I choose to let it bring me new life. I choose to turn this (mistake/problem) into a blessing that will provide me with an opportunity to change my future in the direction that I want it to go in.” Do this, and maybe, with time, those slates won’t be as big as a burden to bear.

So while you do have to carry around some of the same slates for the rest of your life, positive thinker, there are slates that do allow you to start over every day. These are the slates that don’t have to follow you around for the rest of your life if you don’t want them to.

Each new day you have the option to turn over in your bed, pick up your blank slate, and come up with something brilliant that you can put down on your new slate for that day. If you want your slate to be full of positivity then you can make that happen.

Nina Simone, a great African American singer, songwriter, pianist, and civil rights activist created music that not only brought attention to, and highlighted, the gross injustices that Blacks in America were experiencing in the 50s and 60s, but she also brought a spirit of positivity with the lyrics that she sang. Songs like Mississippi Goddam and Old Jim Crow projected a message of a need for change in the unfair and unequal race dynamics that were being experienced in the United States during the Civil Rights era, but songs like Feelin’ Good and Ain’t got no, I got life evoked a feeling of joy to whoever was fortunate enough to listen to these songs.

“It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me, and I’m feelin’ good,” is one of my favorite lines from Nina Simone’s song Fellin’ Good, simply because so much positivity is able to radiate out from just these few words.

Positive thinker, listen to the message of positivity that Nina Simone sends in Feelin’ Good. The new slate that you woke up to yesterday may have ended up being full of nothing but negativity, but that doesn’t matter anymore. Forget about the bad things that happened that were written on your blank slate yesterday, or the day before that, or the day before that because those slates are in the past, and today’s slate is brand new.

Just because yesterday was plagued by bad event after bad event, doesn’t mean that today has to be.

Wake up each day and focus on filling your blank slate with things that are going to bring you positivity.

Remember positive thinker, you are the creator of each and every blank slate that you receive day after day, so construct it in a way that will bring you joy.

Good Vibes

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