To continue on from the title, it’s no service to yourself if you’re always saying the glass is half empty. It won’t make you the life of the party.
At the moment I still live at home, which, is difficult at the best of times. As an adult I have my own interests and hobbies, which often leaves me doing my own thing since they’re things not shared by the rest of the family. This of course means that family life isn’t as cohesive as it used to be, however, differences should be expected, and people can still get along despite those. What I notice however, is that the persistent, negative attitude of other family members only serves to drive people away – not just the ones who are more cheery, but also those with the negative attitude themselves.
To move away from the example of the home, I’m also an avid rock climber. In fact in the next couple of days, I’ll be away climbing in Snowdonia for a full seven days – something I’m absolutely buzzing about. Now, climbing may require strength, but it also requires mental strength too when you go outside. Halfway up a mountain you can suddenly feel very exposed, and letting fear get the better of you won’t help you climb well. Even from that, you can start to see how climbing involves a lot of psychology, and over the years I’ve found myself reading up on it.
I remember the guide I climb with saying the following: she is irritated by us Brits. Our national psyche, by on large, is self-deprecating and also negative. We have a tendency to undersell ourselves and to belittle our achievements, which, does not do you any favours when climbing. If you approach the mountain with a positive mindset, focusing on your strengths, you set yourself up for success. Conversely, if you approach with a negative mindset, you’re only loading yourself up with more weight you have to climb with.
It’s taken a while, but I’ve managed to snap out of negative thinking (mostly). So when I find myself in a group of people who are consistently cynical and negative, I immediately want to leave. Being out of that perspective, I can now see how corrosive it is to your own happiness. To use an example right now, I’m writing while the French Open is being played. I enjoy tennis and follow it, as do my parents. However, I can’t watch it with them as everything is consistently brought down. If a great point is played, instead of enjoying it, more often than not there’s a negative comment attached to it – the player is injured, the player can’t keep that level up, or even, that X player must be a drugs cheat.
It’s fair to say as a result, the match is no longer something enjoyable to watch.
What I’ve been learning to do over the past couple of years, more than anything, is to start thinking positively. Sure there are down moments, however, when they do arrive they are easier to deal with because I no longer see them as confirmation of a pessimistic perspective. Thinking positively, and unlearning a habit of being negative, helps you enjoy the good moments – it lets you enjoy that tennis match, rather than be bitter and cynical.
This change of mindset applies to writing, but also even more personally, to my own self-image. I’m starting to accept that I can be attractive, however, while there’s a way to go, rather than being negative I basically get really shy and blush about it.
One thing I would stress though is that this improvement has not come about just on my own, but also through people I know. I know Furries can be seen as strange, however the people I’ve met are really wonderful in their own ways. They’ve been a change for the better, as fundamentally, each person I have met has been a source of positivity. They’re also experts in not giving any care for what other people might think, which is a wonderful life lesson to master for your happiness too. My point though, is that regardless of who, where, and what, surround yourself with people who are positive. When you are in a group of people who always see the glass as half full, then you’ll find its easier to be happy with many things.