We all know how easy it is to list the negative things about ourselves or the situations that we find ourselves in. “I’m tired, I’m stressed, I don’t want to read the 20 chapters we were assigned this week, I don’t want to meet my group for our project, I gained 5 pounds and it’s stressing me out.”
I go to class and no one is wearing a smile. The professor brings up an assignment that’s due this week and half the class rolls their eyes and looks at their neighbor with an exasperated look.
Sometimes I find myself falling into this pattern of negativity and complaining when I’m around my classmates, when really I feel the complete opposite. But every time I engage with a professor, or show interest in our assignments and course content, I get shot down and it only brings forth another round of eye rolling and groans.
Negativity is an infectious thing, especially when you are surrounded by it. But I believe that positivity can be even more powerful.
So how do I deal with negativity?
- I remember why I’m here [in OT school].
- I remember how blessed I am to have the opportunity to be learning what I am in order to serve people in the future.
- When there is a pause in conversation, instead of filling the silence with a complaint (i.e. “I’m tired”) fill it with positivity.
- When people come to me and bring negativity into the conversation, I acknowledge how they are feeling and reroute the conversation in a more productive way.
- I smile – even if it’s forced. (Fake it til’ you make it, right?)
- When I wake up I say [out loud], “today is going to be a great day!” (It may sound weird but, hey, it helps!)
- I also say this to my roommates and to any other friends!
- I start my morning in prayer and intentionally pray for joy and positivity.
- I take the time to appreciate the small things – warm sunlight through my window, the blue sky, the plants and flowers that possess their own unique beauty.
Life is hard. Everyone knows that. But I can guarantee that it is much harder with an attitude of negativity. People will remember you for the positivity you brought into their life – a smile, a compliment, a word of encouragement.
So let this be my word of encouragement to you: choose joy.
“I have decided to stick with love, hate is too great a burden to bear.” Martin Luther King Jr.