In response to the articles circulating on the Internet about why positive thinking is bad, I’m going to talk about why it’s good. It’s always helped me and I know it will continue to.
Trigger warning: I talk about my experiences with self-harm, in-depth, in the first bullet point. Feel free to skip down to the other three if you aren’t comfortable reading.
It kills negative self-talk.
I don’t have infinite self-esteem. I get discouraged, I doubt myself, and I tear myself down; it’s only human to do so.
Positive thinking allows me to break the thought process. Back when I self-harmed, I didn’t know how to stop the hate. I kept insulting myself, kept pushing myself, until I cracked and then I’d dig my nails into my arm to assert control again. It never made me feel better; it just numbed my emotions for a little while because of the shock.
When I stopped seeing my counselor, I resolved to be more optimistic starting that summer. I recognized that I was losing control to the negative thoughts in my head and I sought to get it back. Part of this results from practicing mindfulness for several years, but now I can turn my thoughts around within minutes.
Just the other day, I was reviewing the Finite Math test I recently took and found out I made several “silly mistakes” because I misinterpreted the question. I felt stupid and inadequate. I thought that no matter how much I studied, I’d just flub up the class anyway since I clearly couldn’t even read the questions properly. And that was when I had my realization…
If my mistakes were so simple, they’d be easy to fix! No Venn diagram sleight of hand necessary! Needless to say, I felt much better after having this thought and finished my review in peace.
It’s a non-vicious cycle
Positive thinking is an art form in itself, but once you get the hang of it, one thing leads to another and suddenly you’re on-top-of-the-world.
Often times, when I walk around my school campus, I’m actively working to release stress. Immediately, I try to let go of whatever’s worrying me and replace it with something else. Plugging in headphones and drowning out your thoughts is always a great last resort, but I like to re-focus my thoughts before I wear out my eardrums.
Just yesterday, I had a really tough lesson in Finite Math and, as I was walking towards the dining hall, I started thinking about this blog. Recently, I’ve seen a spike in traffic, I’ve solidified my voice, and got in touch with some awesome mental health activists. (More on that later.) All things considered, my blog is thriving and I can’t think about that without instantly feeling better. This is my first real step towards fighting the stigma around mental health; I can finally say that I’m living the dream.
Then I started thinking about how, even last year, I couldn’t have even dreamed of where I am now. Studying what I’m meant to at my dream university fighting for what I care about. Can it get any better than that?
Sure, I’m hitting hitches in the road, but that’s just a part of life.
Bottom Line: Having a positive lifeline can turn a bad day around.
It inspires others
As you lovelies know, this past Christmas I gave my dad a little book of inspirational quotes that I handwrote. It couldn’t have come at a better time for him because he was feeling particularly low after a slew of false alarms and failures in general.
Not even a month later, he interviewed for a job. (This is the one I mentioned last week.) Lovelies, I’m very happy to say that they did offer him the position, however, it turned out to have more travel than he could commit to. They’d have him flying out to all parts of the world for 2 weeks at a time every quarter and my dad just isn’t willing to do that so he had to turn it down.
Bottom Line: I’m not fishing for praise, but I can’t say for sure that my dad would have even had the strength to interview for this job without my inspiration blast.
By the way, I find it extremely fulfilling to lift other people up when they’re struggling. That’s why when you lovelies reach out to me about how my blog has touched you, I’m equally touched.
It helps me power through adversity
If I could tell my seven-year old self only one thing, I’d tell her it gets better. That one day she’d go to sleep at night feeling safe and content. That one day her battle wounds would heal enough that she could close other people’s. That one day she’d find all the answers she sought.
I didn’t see a way out back then. I figured I’d be stuck in darkness forever so I may as well accept it. As long as I believed that, I was stuck. It wasn’t searching for a needle in a haystack because there was no escape plain and simple.
Until I changed my mind, I had no hope. Now I struggle to find reasons not to hope for the best.
As Will the Krill (from Happy Feet 2) says…
“I fear the worst too, but only because fearing the best is an absolute waste of time!”
If you don’t believe in the light at the end of the tunnel, you have no reason to worry, you’ll never find it. If you do, pick up a flashlight and walk with me.
P.S. Update on my daruma doll; it was barely clinging onto the edge of my desk much like I’m hanging onto life by a fingernail right now. I’m not falling, I’m surviving.
P.P.S. I don’t see this week’s Boundless Challenge happening because a ton of schoolwork/homework piled up on me last minute that’s all due Friday. Sorry about that!