Last updated on March 20th, 2019 at 10:28 am
Today I’m sharing my tips on staying positive, even when everyone around you is negative.
Growing up I wasn’t raised in the most positive environment. Everybody around me was fighting about something. My parents, my grandparents, my teachers, even my little buddies at the kinder garden and school.
Somehow though I always remained calm and had peace in my heart that everything was going to be good. I think it came from spending a lot of time in nature and knowing good things will happen, even if they’re not good right now. I knew that every moment is temporary, even as a kid.
So today I want to talk about staying positive, especially when you’re surrounded by negative people and life’s stressful. First let’s start with what it actually means to be positive, at least in my opinion. I’m not a dictionary.
You don’t have to be happy all the time to be positive
Being positive doesn’t mean you need to always be happy and smiling and nice. In this scenario you’re not positive, you’re fake even to yourself. And you’re probably ignoring something you shouldn’t.
Being positive means knowing that you can handle whatever comes your way. It means taking action on the things you want to do and knowing that they’ll happen.
It also means having an adequate reaction to what is happening to you. Being positive does not mean letting people walk all over you. So when somebody does you wrong you don’t just stay there, smile and be positive. You fight for your rights (to paaaarty). For justice. But in a more calm and diplomatic way, because you know you’re going to get what you want and what you deserve.
Maintaining a good attitude and not letting others eliminate who you truly are and what you believe is possible, takes a lot of mental effort sometimes. But it’s so worth the effort, it shouldn’t be ignored.
How To Be Positive When Everyone Else Is Negative
1. Find something you love, a goal, a dream, and work on it
Something that excites you and makes you daydream. Something that makes you want to get up in the morning and work on it. Maybe it’s making music, maybe it’s writing, maybe it’s cooking or taking pictures. Being creative in ANY kinda way.
Today you have so many opportunities to develop the skills you want and to offer them to the world, it’s almost unreal. One platform that can help you develop almost any creative skill you wish is MasterClass. It offers a large variety of online classes in writing, acting, singing, film making, cooking and so much more and they’re all taught by people you look up to. Yes, Martin Scorsese has a film making class and Malcolm Gladwell has a writing class. And there are so many more, you can check them all out here.
So, whatever is going on in your life, make sure to do something for yourself. Be grateful for the time we live in, where we have all these opportunities. And don’t miss out.
You can be sure that you’re going to separate with a lot of people throughout life. So people shouldn’t be something that defines you and your happiness. Build something that nobody can take away from you.
Negative people around you can be making fun of you for having a dream, for wanting to eat healthy, for wanting to sing, even for washing your hair and wanting more from life. No need to share your plans or get approval. Know everything is possible. All you need is to try.
For me, even with starting this blog a few years ago almost everyone around me was like “Why?”. Making fun of me and telling me I was wasting my time and it was stupid. But you know what? You work on what you want, you stay consistent (or in my case – semi-consistent) and things grow. You grow.
When you’re busy having your own exciting projects, there’s no way you’ll be negative for too long. Even if there are struggles, you’re working on something you want. Something that can make you feel proud, accomplished and will give you peace.
2. Remind yourself of the good things in life
When you’re around negative people what they actually do is remind you of the bad things in their own life or in the world. They find obstacles for everything, not solutions.
But, when you start expressing gratitude regularly for what is right in your own life and see the beauty in the world, you become more positive. You understand that you can find a solution to anything as long as you’re willing to look for it and see it.
3. Don’t overdo on watching others
If a story you read or watched inspired you, take action right away. Don’t read story after story after story, because you want more of that inspiration to push you to do the things you want to do. “I need a little more courage and proof that this will work.”
Instead, spend some time on your own, think about it and act on what you want to do. Even if it’s not perfect, keep trying and you’ll get really really good over time. The person who can best solve your own problem and achieve your own goals is you.
Same is for comparing yourself to others – don’t do that. Do you.
Similar for watching the news. If you do watch them and feel insecure where this world is going – turn it off and look around. Is everything good around you? Probably yes, if you’re reading this. Then get curious. What can you do to help with the situation you’re worried about? Maybe volunteer, maybe pray, even if it’s a small act – do it.
4. Do the little things that make you happy every single day.
Don’t ignore the walk in the park or talking to a friendly old lady in the supermarket, looking at or petting animals, eating right, doing yoga or allowing yourself to indulge every now and then.
Taking care of yourself and making yourself happy intentionally is key to staying positive.
If you don’t, at some point you might start feeling like everyone is eating your time, using you and you’ll blame yourself and others for not doing what you want to do with your life.
When you take care of yourself first you’ll get to a more peaceful state. That’s why I find it so important to wake up a little earlier and to have a morning routine, where you’re only doing things for yourself. Then you can approach the whole day with a different attitude.
5. Everything has potential and you need to explore it.
Every moment, every person, everything you do. Try to make the most of every moment, put your best effort in everything you do and see the best in people – don’t focus on their negative traits. Nobody’s perfect.
6. Nothing is eternal or eternally the same.
Everything passes, so this situation, the negative one, it will pass. A new one will come, it will pass as well. Welcome every day with calmness, knowing that different times are coming. Even if it’s hard sometimes. Take it one day at a time and as I said: make it a point to do your very best each day.
Also, know you can make a bad day better. People say you can tell a day from the morning (or something like that) and I used to believe it as well. But I don’t anymore. Because whenever I decide I want to make this day a beautiful thing at 6 pm I just do it.
I think of all the things I wanted to achieve and I start, even if do just one. That’s enough. That’s good for a bad day.
So if your boss ruined your day today, when you get home – forget about it and do something that can make you happy. That can make you say. “You know what, that guy doesn’t matter, I’ll be ok, life is good.”
7. Find inspiration online, in a book or elsewhere.
While I do not believe you need to numb things happening to you by watching comedy shows or listening to motivational podcasts, sometimes these things can be helpful when you’re lost or stressed. Especially when everyone around you is negative and you need some motivation. As I said don’t overdo it.
8. See hard times as an opportunity.
Opportunity for what? To feel horrible? No.
To grow, to learn something nobody can explain to you. To develop not only a thicker skin but also more empathy.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made fun of friends for being heartbroken and obsessing over a guy. I just didn’t get it. I had separated with guys before, some of them I really thought I loved. Until one day it happened to me. And it hurt as if my heart was getting stabbed with a knife all day long. And it felt broken, I seriously thought I’m going to get a heart attack even though I was in my 20-ies. I’d cry on my commute to work, secretly at my desk, then I’d go home and cry some more. Time does heal everything though.
Now when somebody tells me they’re down because they’ve broken up with a boyfriend, I know what they’re talking about. I know you don’t feel like going out, drinking and meeting someone new. I know all you want to hear is he’ll come back and you’ll be happy again.
Well, whether it’s going to happen or not – take your time and take this as an opportunity to learn something new about yourself. Even if it’s a part you don’t think you love right now. Develop new skills and finish projects you’ve left behind because of that relationship. Seriously, everything happens for a reason and that saying is all you need to know to move on.
9. Make space for the new.
New people, new hobbies, new habits. Life is all about new. Don’t try to stop it by holding on to things from the past. I read this quote the other day that I really liked:
Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.
– Sam Levenson
The truth is, life’s not waiting and you shouldn’t be either. Make plans, but also dare to be spontaneous, be open to new things, even the uncomfortable ones. Soon you’ll start seeing yourself differently. You’ll become braver and you’ll grow as a person. We grow from new experiences, not from repeating old ones over and over again.
10. Get away from it all for a little bit.
Maybe it’s an hour, maybe it’s a day. When things get tough, take a step back, take a little walk (any place with some trees and grass will do) and remember the essentials…
There are very few things you need to be able to continue your life – your body, and then earth wind and fire somehow forgot about water, but that too. So if you’ve got the essentials, you’re good. Remember that.
11. See people who are negative with empathy.
Okay, disclaimer: some people appear to just be sadistic psychopaths and they’re not really worth thinking about or engaging with. They just want to drag you along and drown you in their own misery. Sharing is caring, right?
Sometimes though, it’s people who we love who are very negative, complain a lot, judge and blame. Mostly they’re in a more overwhelming situation and need some help.
So what I would always do is I would give them advice. Advice they’ve actually heard, know and didn’t ask for. And don’t want to hear.
Other times I would judge them and tell them well, you’re so negative, you complain so much. That’s the last thing people want to hear.
What helps me cope when someone I love is negative, and what helps them, is I try to look at things from their perspective. If I was in their shoes, would I want to hear ANY advice? Especially from people who haven’t been through the exact same thing. No. I wouldn’t. We all have our dignity and just because I’m in a better situation right now doesn’t mean a thing. Everything is temporary after all, my situation might also change. The last thing I would want to do is listen to someone giving me advice.
What I would actually need is someone to distract me and help me take some initial action. Get me involved in something fun, something important, something worth doing. Maybe by gifting a book, maybe by going together on a day trip. Stay positive by lifting someone else up.
Well, it took me a while to put this blog post together. I think I’ve been at it for a week now, writing a little bit here, a little bit there. Man, I hope it made sense.
I hope you found this article helpful. If I can summarize the whole thing it would be: “Don’t focus on the people around you, focus on your own actions and make yourself proud.”