Do you see the glass as half empty or half full? That is usually a question asked to see if you are an optimist or a pessimist.
I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t matter if you are naturally a pessimist, if you tend to lean to the negative side more than the positive – you can LEARN how to be positive.
Being positive is not a feeling, it is an action. Just as we choose our clothes to wear each day, you can choose to be positive even if you don’t feel like it. Even if you haven’t had your morning cup of coffee yet. Even if your kids are not ready for school and it’s time to go.
How you decide to behave and act is a matter of your control. No-one else can do it for you. No-one else can MAKE you happy, or MAKE you sad, or MAKE you unreasonable. Their behavior might bother you, but it’s your choice in how you are reacting to it that makes it all about you. Your brain will do what you tell it to, so kick some butt and start bossing it around.
I live far away from my place of work. On a perfect traffic day, it takes me forty five minutes to get there. Now, how many perfect traffic days do you think I have?! Not very many. Every single day there is the racer wannabe. There is the guy/gal who always has to be in front. There is the guy/gal who will cut you off. There is the guy/gal that runs the light. There is the guy/gal that doesn’t understand how merging/zipper works. There is always, always, always going to be a driver that will be rude, discourteous, and have terrible road manners. Every day. Remember that!
So – instead of reacting each and every day when you encounter these people, choose ahead of time how you are going to react. I choose to smile and wave, and just let them in. If you swear, honk, and give them the finger, you are just going to create a yucky feeling inside of you. It’s from your adrenaline that was just released, and it’s not healthy. Adrenaline is supposed to be for our fight or flight, if we are in a situation that we need extra help, and our body gives us adrenaline to give us a boost so we can escape. However, if we keep having an adrenaline rush due to anger, it will build up over time, and slowly poison us. It’s not healthy to always have adrenaline rushing through your body.
I remember one day going to work, and the commute was horrible. It was already slow due to an accident at the tunnel, and so suddenly everyone started being impatient and doing dumb things. I had almost been hit, and I was angry. I honked, fingered, yelled swear words, (really, really bad ones that I cannot repeat here)
and by the time I got to work almost two hours late, I was furious. I complained to one co-worker. Then the next one that came to my office. Then the next person. By the time noon had rolled around, everyone knew how angry I was, and was steering clear of me.
Yikes. That one driver ruined my morning, and I allowed it to wreck the rest of my day. Did you know that when something happens to you, and you repeat the story later, your brain can’t tell the difference of when it happened? When you repeat a story, all the emotions, and what you experienced during that story come all flooding back. It doesn’t matter if the event happened an hour ago, a week ago, a year ago, ten years ago. When you repeat your story – your brain thinks it just happened, and it will give you all the same feelings, along with adrenaline as before.
That my friends, is why we need to STOP bringing up painful memories. We need to stop re-telling stories that cripple us. We need to learn how to get rid of negativity in our lives, not create it for ourselves.
After that day at work, I went home, and decided that from that point on, I was going to be happy on my way to work, smile at people who rushed past me, and that I would no longer share my horror driving stories. I made the decision that every day was going to be a great drive to work day. It didn’t matter how many accidents there could be or how long the commute took, I was going to start each day with a smile on my face.
It works. It truly does. If you decided AHEAD of time how to react when something happens (in this case, the commute) it won’t matter if Jerk #1 or A$$hole #2 cuts you off. You know you are going to smile and wave, and be empathetic that they are probably late for work, and might get fired if they don’t hurry up. Trust me, if you change your mindset, you won’t get angry on your commute any more. This is just one example, but you can apply it to any circumstance in your life.
How about when it’s time to drive your kids to school, and they are not dressed yet? Decide ahead of time how you are going to react, and what you are going to do to fix it. Then when it does happen, you won’t get angry, you already have a solution.
It’s all up to you. It’s all up to the choices you make. No-one can ruin your day, only YOU can ruin your day.
When someone tells you to have a nice day, reply to them, “thanks, I will, I already decided yesterday!”
Change your mind, change your life!