On Positivity

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”

— Marcus Aurelius

I am a believer in the power of positive thinking; I believe that changing your thoughts can change your world. We each have our own reality and our thoughts influence that. It changes how we see people and our view of a situation. If you think something will have a bad outcome, changes are greater that it will and vice versa. I moved to Colorado telling myself over and over that it was going to be a great experience. There are a lot of things that I could let get me down: starting over, not being able to see my family, having a harder time connecting with people than I thought, etc. If I allowed myself to think that I wouldn’t be able to make a life here, then it would make adapting even more difficult. It’s my decision to stay positive and fill my head with the possibility of new friends and experiences. These thoughts make me look forward to every single day here and give me excitement towards my future. Generally, I think that my optimism about moving to Colorado is part of why I am so happy right now.

I’ve always considered myself an optimist, but I know it doesn’t come easy to a lot of people. Still, I mostly believe that thinking positively is a choice. I had a mentor in college who always said that his first thoughts are usually negative ones. To combat this, he would follow his negative thought with two positive ones. This takes awareness of your own mind and the ability to recognize negative thought producing habits. There is effort and repetition that goes into changing your mindset, but over time can become easier. My college mentor recognized his negative thoughts, but then made the choice to be positive. He said that practicing this habit changed his outlook on the world around him. There are people in the world who are dealt unfavorable circumstances and still live very happy lives. I believe part of this happiness is allowing the positive in and pushing the negative out. It’s being grateful for what you have and not dwelling on the things you don’t.

I admit, I have low tolerance for negativity, so I strive to surround myself with positive people. Yes, everyone gets down from time to time, it’s part of being human. We experience grief, anger, jealousy, annoyance, loneliness, embarrassment, fear, heartbreak and so many other emotions. Let these things in and give it time, we don’t have to immediately try to combat it with a silver lining. What I’m talking about is avoiding chronic negativity that turns into bitterness, hatred, or regret. It’s the repeated dwelling, complaining, placing blame, and holding grudges. While I’d love to believe that my positivity will rub off on those around me, sometimes it’s not worth it to spend a lot of time with people who are bringing me down. I’ve known people who aren’t satisfied with their own negativity, they have to extend it to others so they aren’t miserable alone. It’s harsh, but I’ve had to cut these people out of my life. I don’t feel guilty doing this because I know I can’t change them. The change has to be their own choice, it has to come from within like the quote suggests.

While I agree with Aurelius that it happiness is within yourself and your way of thinking, for some people this can be more difficult said than done. Personally, I wouldn’t trade my positive thought habits for a million dollars. I know it contributes immensely to my happiness. I would encourage anyone to take the time and effort to change negativity into positivity, I believe it’ll serve you greatly in the long run.

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