I can be a bit of a Negative Nancy at times. It's not that I'm defeatist by nature - definitely not. I'm always looking to the future and hoping and working for the best. But when certain situations just keep cropping up and getting you down, or you keep getting knocked back instead of moving forward, I think it's only natural for patience to wear a bit thin and to start assuming the worst or feeling like giving up. I've often looked at people who seem to be able to just let things wash over them, and wonder how on earth they do it. Those people who don't seem to get annoyed by anything, or anyone. Personally, if I'm feeling on edge in the first place then it doesn't take much - noise, rudeness and long queues have all been known to set me off into a bit of a disproportionate grumble or, dare I say it, even rage. Sometimes I just end up stressing myself out about the little things in life (as I'm sure we all do at times), and last week I stumbled upon a quote that said something along the lines of: "The only one who suffers when you sweat the small stuff is you", or words to that effect. It really made me stop and think, because really it is just so true. If someone is rude to you and doesn't say please or thank you, the chances are that afterwards, they will simply carry on with their day and think no more about it, while you are the one sitting there stewing about it. Why should this person - this rude person - get to dictate your day? Why give them the power to turn you into a walking storm cloud for the rest of the day? This is just one example, but it fits with so many situations.
Another quote I came across, around the same time said, more or less, that the only person responsible for the way you feel is yourself, and at the time I found it really hard to get my head around. Surely if someone is winding you up or being deliberately uncooperative then they are the ones to blame? How could they not be? The thing is though, the quote was right, and I've read books on psychology which have said the same thing. It's not just a nice philosophy, it's actually fact. Yep, someone can absolutely irritate the hell out of us, should they choose to do so. But is it really necessary to take the bait, and to react? If you know full well that someone's intention is to get to you, then why allow yourself to be drawn into their plan? I'm a terrible one for this, and I fall for it every single time. I'm not trying to say that nothing anyone does to you has any effect - I wouldn't believe that for a second myself. But in all honesty, we do have some control over it, and what we choose to do with whatever it is we're faced with. And we know it.
On Monday, I decided it was time to take action. I don't want to feel unnecessarily stressed out all the time, and I don't want to feel negative about things when there is no need. In fact, I don't even want to feel that way when there is need, because where there's a will there's a way. If we don't get somewhere the way we originally planned, it doesn't mean that we won't get there. Sometimes you just have to take a different route.
I've actually downloaded a couple of apps for my phone, so that now, whenever I can feel myself starting to feel stressed, upset or negative, I can just crack them out and bombard myself with a bit of positivity. It's been really effective so far, and I'm enjoying finding out how infectious a good rosy outlook can be. Maybe it's just the distraction, but either way, it does the job.
Another thing I'm trying to do is to mull things over before reacting. If I receive some bad news, or someone says something unkind or hurtful, instead of immediately saying exactly how I feel about it, I'm keeping quiet, thinking about it rationally and deciding what to do about it. It's easier said than done at first, I'll give you that. But again, it works, because if you give it half an hour then quite often it won't seem all that important any more. Of course, there will be some occasions where expressing yourself will be unavoidable, and that's fine. But more often than not, it can wait.
So, that's my little plan of action towards being more of a Positive Polly in the face of adversity! I shall let you know how it goes.
What do you do to stay looking on the bright side of life?