During my short time on this earth, I have experienced many things, and have been in and out of all kinds of relationships. Through those relationships, I have learned that there are two kinds of people: negative thinkers and positive thinkers. Positive thinkers often search for the good in people and situations. They are caring, confident, and respectful of others, as well as themselves. On the other hand, negative thinkers often search for the bad in people and situations. They are insensitive, unsure, and disrespectful. From the relationships in which I have engaged, I have learned that it is best to be a positive thinker.
My life experiences have taught me that I cannot always control what happens to me, but I can control my attitude. It is easy to be negative when we are hurting, discouraged and angry. Our inner critic makes it easy to criticize ourselves, as well as others, especially when our desires or expectations are not met. It is only natural to want to attack those who hurt us, devalue us, belittle us or disrespect us. However, fighting fire with fire has never proven to be effective. The attitude and behavior we exhibit today will shape our future. Therefore, it is imperative that we learn to replace negative thinking with positive thinking.
Maintaining a positive attitude is achievable and can help us view ourselves and others optimistically. To successfully become a positive thinker, we must adjust our attitude and behavior. If you desire to become a positive thinker who lives a joyful and victorious life, I highly recommend that you apply the five steps listed below:
- Accept Yourself and Trust In God. Accepting yourself and trusting in God is the first and most important step toward becoming a positive thinker. Do not fall victim to thinking negative because bad things have happened to you. Love and accept yourself regardless of your appearance, background, economic, social or financial status. Challenge yourself to objectively eliminate emotions and expectations that contribute to negative thinking. Remember that God did not create perfect people because He wants you to trust in Him. Meditating on His word can help you become a positive thinker: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” – Philippians 4:13; “With God in my life, all things are possible” – Matthew 19:26; If God be for us, who can be against us”- Romans 8:31; and “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak” – Isaiah 40:29.
- Identify Distortions in Your Thinking. Faulty thinking is unhealthy for you. Examples: “I cannot make it, my life will always be bad, I am not worthy of being loved and all people are bad”. What you feel and tell yourself is not always accurate. Therefore, identifying and eliminating negative attitudes is the second step toward becoming a positive thinker.
- Identify Your Strengths. Identify your strengths and establish an accurate list of them and your resources is the third step toward becoming a positive thinker. Do this to empower yourself so that you can take control of yourself and life. Review your list daily to remind yourself of your strengths. Knowing what your strengths are can propel you to use them in situations that can build your self-esteem which in return can foster positive thinking.
- Hangout with Positive People. The fourth step to becoming a positive thinker is very important. Surround yourself with positive individuals who breathe life into you. The quickest way to develop and maintain a negative attitude is to hang around negative people. Remember that negativity begets negativity. If possible, avoid negative people at all cost. Their negative energy can and will deplete you. Identify positive thinking people and ask them to support you in changing your negative thinking.
- Reinforce Healthy Self-talk. If you want to become a positive thinker you must comply with the fifth and final step which is to learn to use positive affirmations to reinforce healthy self-talk. Examples: “I can do whatever I put my mind to; Life is a chess game and I am the King; and I will not give up until I achieve the result I desire.” Do not totally depend on others to build you up or change your thinking. Become a positive thinker by feeding your soul with healthy self-talk and learning to be your own enforcer.
Your way of thinking affects every phase of your life, including your relationships. Therefore, looking for the good in yourself and others should become a habit. A habit is a point where desire, knowledge, and skill meet. Take time to learn about other people by being active, looking for common ground, assuming differences in meaning, and looking for individuals, not group representatives. Doing the latter will enable you to maintain a positive attitude. If you take nothing else from this newsletter, please remember that happiness in life begins with your attitude. So I ask that you do not allow negative thinking to rob you of the happiness you deserve! Become a positive thinker and see how your life changes for the best.