Replacing the negative with positive

At the beginning of 2018, I resolved to complain less and compliment other people more. As a whole, I think I accomplished both of these. I can still improve, so I’ll keep this resolution around for 2019, but I’m adding another one: Replace the negative with positive.

Whether it’s negative a thought, attitude, comment, outlook, or opinion, my resolution in 2019 is to capture this negativity and replace it with positivity.

This sounds similar to my 2018 resolution, but there are some key differences.

  1. You can be negative without complaining. A lot of times, my negativity is just talking about a person, in fact, most of the time it is. I’m not really complaining, just stating negative things.
  2. You can complain without being overly negative. In my post about cutting the complaining in 2018, I mentioned that I often complained about our cruise being cut short by Hurricane Sandy. I would talk about how fun it was, and then just throw that in at the end. It wasn’t a terribly negative conversation, but it was complaining nonetheless.

I like the idea of not just cutting out the negative but also replacing it with the positive for two reasons.

  1. Cutting out the negative, obvious.
  2. Replacing it with positive requires you to pause, search for the positive, bring it to the forefront of your mind, and then usually verbalize it to yourself or someone else. It’s not just bottling up the negative and ignoring it, it’s choosing to look past the negative and actually see something positive or productive in the situation.

Replacing negativity with positivity requires a complete shift in your outlook. You can’t speak positively about a situation, person, emotion, sports team while feeling negatively about them for long.

Choosing to be positive isn’t easy, it’s actually really hard. When you’re in a bad mood, you can’t just tell yourself, “Ok, it’s time to be in a good mood.” And voila everything is better. It doesn’t usually work that way for me, but having a positive outlook will make it easier.

I resolve in 2019 to replace thoughts like, “I can’t believe our plane is delayed, this is garbage.” with “I’m so glad they’re fixing this problem with the plane before we take off and then crash and die.” As I type that, I can feel my attitude change toward plane delays.

I’ll admit that I was recently on a plane and complained a lot, so my 2018 resolution didn’t completely change my ways, but I’m getting better.