Making the decision to be positive was a huge leap of faith.
It was not something I chose with any sort of reasoning or long thought process (uncharacteristic of HSP’s I know). It’s something I chose out of necessity. It was either continue with my barren, barely-there existence or give myself a fighting chance. At the time, I felt that deciding to be positive was the most illogical choice I have ever made. But my path of negativity was devouring me too quickly to ignore.
It’s actually very difficult to talk about. As a highly sensitive person, feeling everything so strongly, I felt there were many reasons to be negative. Life throws curveballs, fastballs, sliders, and lots of other baseball pitches I hardly know. My point is, even if I could see trouble coming, it was still very painful and took days to process. I often felt that other people would work through bumps in the road within a day and for me, well, it was much longer.
For a while, I justified my negativity.
It allowed me to see problems before they came. I prepared for the bad things, I accounted for them and still they hurt me deeply.
It’s embarrassing how long it took me to realize that my negative expectations were creating negative outcomes. Even though a negative perception yielded dreadful experiences, it was easy to fall into a negative pattern. I believed it kept me from pain. In order to remind myself how much my negativity poorly impacted my life, I made a list to remind myself of just that:
- I expected every decision I made to be a bad one
- I treated people poorly, because I expected to be treated poorly
- People in lines? Always angry! So I was pre-angry, before I was even in line
- Traffic? The absolute WORST. Cut people off, before they cut me off. Always fighting to merge, because no one will ever let you in out of the goodness of their heart
- I spent the good times worrying about the bad times that had not even happened yet
- Because of my perceptions, I always felt that the bad times last exponentially longer than the good times
- I criticized myself for everything I could think of, before someone else could do it
- I couldn’t make decisions out of fear of the million possible results
- I could not let anything bad float out of my mind, therefore, there were no spaces for the good things
- I could not develop and grow as a person, because I was never attempting to risk anything bad happening by taking chances
- When I managed to talk myself into some new, I spent the entire time complaining and worrying over it instead of experiencing it
- I expected bad things to happen, therefore they did
All of these thoughts brought me to a hopeless state.
If things were bad, and the good would lead to bad, then what was really the point? Deciding to be positive and kind wasn’t a planned choice. One day I said, I will either wither from depression or I will take a leap of faith. With no reason or belief at all, I choose to be positive. I said to myself, I would make a conscious effort to change my mindset and expect things to be good, even if I could not logically justify it in my head.
It sounds like a story, even to me, but my life improved. Being positive has touched every nook and cranny of my brain. My first instinct meeting someone would be to judge absolutely everything about them and expect them to do the same of me. Now, I make an effort to get to know a person and find what makes them special. This conscious effort includes being aware of a person’s “bad side” but choosing to not define them by one thing. I remind myself from the moment I wake up, that the day can be good if I just try. Some days it seems impossible to think that way, but having someone to support you in your journey of self-improvement makes all the difference.
I consciously attempt to expect positive results out of my actions. In this day and age of extreme over-scrutiny, this is always challenging. The first step is to remember that no one will believe in you if you do not believe in yourself.
I have a friend who says I have a super power. I can read the “vibes” coming off of other people. Even though what she said was true, it still seemed like a far-fetched thing to say. I mean, who thinks like that? Her experiences of my perceptions of other people seemed powerful to her because she did not experience the world in this way. I use this “super power” line of thinking to remind myself that if I can feel emotions coming off of other people, they can feel them from me.
If I put out positivity into the world, then just maybe that is what I can get back.
In my highly sensitive way, I’d like to explain this analogy. It can feel like I have this shining ball of light in which my positivity rests. It is not something that was inherently in me. Rather, it was something I created. I foster this ball of light by consciously choosing peace, happiness, kindness and positivity. This ball of light in turn, shines on my decisions, my events, my career, and my choices to make my life a positive and successful one.
While I can understand that these descriptions might seem, too spiritual or mythical for some people, my hope is that highly sensitives can relate. Explaining feelings often seems to be a battle of doing the impossible, but I am happy to embark on it if I could help just one person, accept and listen to their sensitivity.
Now, to get back on track with this post, I would like to list as many benefits of positive thinking as I can:
- I was generally kind in communal areas and they were generally kind to me
- I let people in during bumper-to-bumper traffic. Whether someone let me in or not, wasn’t the point. The point was that I did something good because I chose to be a good person.
- People wanted to help me for no reason when I was being kind
- People wanted to talk to me and get to know me because of all the good things they heard about me
- When people talked over me or ignored me, it was no longer my problem. My positivity told me it wasn’t my burden to bear for other people’s ill manners
- When people were rude at the counter, I began to think, I pity them for their unhappy day or unhappy life
- I wanted to help people I saw as sad, because it was just so unnecessary
- Now, I try to hold onto the good things, giving no room for the bad ones to take root.
- I used to expect people not to like me. It’s somewhat of a habit, but nowadays, I am more upfront with my feelings and I harp on the other person’s body language less.
You know, I would like to say that I presently expect good things to happen and good things do happen. But this simply isn’t true. It feels impossible to believe that you can send positivity into the universe and magically expect good things to come back to you. But I do see how positivity has improved my life and how I interact with others.
I still have negative days. More than an established person should admit. But, I do my yoga and meditation; I remind myself that the feelings are temporary. And of course, I have a wonderful support system by way of the most positive man (hi boyfriend J) I’ve ever met. He still reminds me every day of how things can be if I expect life to be good rather than bad. It will be a never-ending learning process to continually improve my life.