Are you prone to thinking negative thoughts about circumstances, other people, and even yourself? Do you sometimes feel life is hopeless because it seems you have run out of luck and everything you do fails? You are probably struggling with pessimism, and if you do not overcome this soon, it will hinder you from achieving your goals.
Having an optimistic outlook is necessary if you want to see the positive side of life even in bad situations. True, we cannot control the circumstances around us, but at least we can do something about our response to each. Like what they say, happiness is a choice—well, so is being positive.
Tips to optimism
Here are some tips that can help you be more positive even when all you see around is negativity. Hopefully, these help you change your perspective in life as they have helped me:
1. Count your blessings.
Sometimes, we tend to focus on what we do not get, so we feel empty. However, if you look around and be thankful for every little good thing you have, you will feel better. Instead of feeling bad because of what you cannot have or have not achieved YET, focus on the blessings you received.
For instance, you may have no boyfriend or girlfriend and it makes you feel unlovable, but if you focus your attention on your family or friends who are always there for you, then you will realize you’re actually overflowing with love.
Also, you may envy your friends who can buy the latest gadgets they want and all you can afford is a pre-owned mobile phone, but if you concentrate on the fact that the basic reason why you need phone is communication, then you will be thankful enough that at least you can use something to text or call your loved ones.
Instead of hating yourself for having no budget to eat in luxurious restaurants, be grateful that you can eat three times a day. Remember, some would be too happy to find leftovers just to fill their hungry stomachs.
2. Do not compare your achievements to others’.
Comparison is the top culprit that makes you insecure. If you keep on making the life of others the standard for yours, you will always see what you do not have. I will be specific about not comparing your achievements to what others have attained. Life is not a race, so there is no need to be ahead when aiming for success.
Before, I would feel bad that my batchmates are already title holders, and I am not. Some are already doctors, lawyers, and managers. Many have finished their master’s degree, and some are on their doctorate already.
Me? I wasted my scholarship for masters and dropped my courses when the semester was ending. At first I felt bad, but now I am grateful I did that, because I was actually half-hearted when I enrolled (just for the sake of getting the scholarship offered at work). Now, I have a clearer idea of what I want to pursue, and I am glad I have not wasted years on something I did not really want.
Others may think it would be late for me to get a stable profession, but hey, I believe life is not all about stability. I can study even at my thirties’ or forties’. And as long as I am not jobless, I can save for my retirement, right? At least I am able to explore many exciting things about this world, meet different kinds of people, and create memories that someday would make fine stories for my grandchildren. And that is success for me.
It probably took you years before you could proceed or finish college. Or maybe until now you are still undecided of what kind of career to take. My advice is stop tracking the pace of other people, and focus on your own path so you will not stumble. Do not make their timetable your own timeline. Create one for yourself, and you will reach your dream at your own time, minus the frustrations caused by envying others.
3. Always have an inspiration.
You know why people in love are usually motivated to work hard? It is because they have loved ones to dedicate their accomplishments to. Students want to graduate in college on time because they want to get a job, make their parents proud, and repay their hard work. A single mother gets two or three jobs to give her kid a comfortable life. A husband and father always works overtime to buy his family’s dream house soon. All of them do not mind going through hard times because they are doing it for the people important to them.
Look for inspirations around you. Or maybe you already have, but sometimes you forget them when you are bombarded by pressure. Every time you feel like quitting, remember the people who matter to you. Would they be happy when you give up? Or how about those who depend on you? What would happen to them?
Remember who or what drove you to pursue your achievements now. When you wake up every day, remind yourself of them so that you will be motivated to give your best effort in what you do.
4. See failures as stepping stones to success.
Failure is part of life, so do not be easily discouraged when it gets in your way once in a while. All successful people have experienced failure too. However, they did not give up on what they want to accomplish. They tried and tried until they got them.
Changing your perspective about failure can help you get closer to success. Every time you fail, cry if you may, but do not think it is final. Learn from the experience, and use it to prepare yourself for trying next time. Turn the lesson into knowledge, and turn that knowledge into skills.
Example, you have probably failed job interviews many times. Instead of being discouraged from looking for a job, take note of what the interviewers say to you. Some would give advice or hints of what you need to improve on. If they say you need to work on your communication skills, then do something about that. Practice expressing your thoughts in writing or speaking at home or attend communication workshops or training.
5. Unwind once in a while.
Too much stress at work, studies, or home can make you a pessimist. Therefore, give yourself a break from time to time. Do something that you love doing or be in touch with nature.
Going to the beach and soaking in the sun is one good suggestion. You can also go hiking or walking in a park—or the woods for thrill. Why not go on a holiday in a far island or visit your hometown? Mother Earth has a way of soothing us with her breathtaking beauty.
If you are not a nature-lover, you can find other activities that can make you relax. Go shopping or pamper yourself with body spa and massage. You may also have a makeover. If you love eating, eat in your favorite restaurant or have a cheat day on your diet.
Relaxing can calm your mind from problems. It recharges both your physical and inner strength. This breaks you away from the negative situations in your life, and makes you see that there are still good things happening around.
Look at the bright side
Too much pessimism can give you wrinkles. It also drains you of energy and joy. That is why, help yourself see the bright side of things. No matter how big your problems are, it is not the end of the world yet. Give time to appreciate the good things around you. It will also give you hope to try harder and search for other opportunities.