It Takes Courage to Be Positive
Positive thinking has been linked to many health benefits, from lower blood pressure to longer (and healthier) lifespans, and more.
Experts advise us to think positive, to reframe bad situations under a more positive light, and to even do things like fake smile to trick our bodies into thinking we’re happy.
If you think it all sounds borderline ridiculous, however, you’re not alone.
I used to be a pessimist of the worst kind: the kind that believes she’s nothing more than a realist, since life is actually hard and full of disappointment. In my book, not expecting that things would eventually go wrong was akin to being the world’s biggest idiot.
Negative thinking was my shield. It protected me from failure because it prevented me from even trying. In the few instances in which I did try, I only did so half-heartedly, since something was bound to go wrong anyway, so there was no point in putting in my best efforts.
No one wants to discover their best efforts result on failure. That’s never fun. If you don’t put in your best efforts, however, you’re never disappointed by failure. You’re protected from it.
My negativity was my shield against the big bad world. It made me feel smarter than everybody else, since I saw the truth beyond their hopes: the world is unfair and pain is inevitable. The bigger you dream, the harder you work, which only makes disappointment more painful.
When you expect the worst, you’re never disappointed. There are obstacles to every journey, and if you haven’t found one yet, don’t worry, it’s coming.
Negativity is comfortable, safe, stable.
Positivity, in the other hand, is difficult. It’s challenging, and it pushes you out of your comfort zone, forcing you to become the best version of yourself you can be.
The idea of the positive person as a naive, wide-eyed fool is not only inaccurate, but misguided. While there is a touch of naiveté in believing there’s no evil or bad luck in the world, positive people in general are some the bravest among us.
It takes courage to be positive.
Being positive is being open. It’s embracing new ideas and projects with the full force of your best hopes. It’s an attitude that exposes you to vulnerability, because the more you believe things will go right, the more intensely you’re going to try them.
You’re going to give your all, and the more invested you are, the more it hurts if you fail — and you have to be even more courageous to pick yourself up and try again.
Being positive doesn’t mean you don’t see where things can go wrong, or how difficult life is; it means you don’t let potential obstacles prevent you from even trying, and that you believe that after every failure there’s success, not the other way around.
I learned to be positive the hard way.
About a year ago, my life changed dramatically. I was forced to reshape not only my daily life, but every single one of my dreams, which had been with me for the best part of a decade.
My outlook on life changed when I noticed negativity wasn’t getting me anywhere. It was when I trusted myself, and trusted that things would turn out great if I kept going, that started to finally see the results I had always wished for.
I noticed how negativity had always stopped me from pursuing those results, and how a positive attitude required more courage than the foolish naiveté I had always associated it with.
I changed, and I’m glad I did.
I changed from cowardice to courage, from the wish to protect myself from failure to embracing failure as a stepping stone to success.
I changed from a negative outlook on life to a positive one.
It wasn’t easy. It was a longer and tougher journey than I can convey here in a few simple words, but no journey that’s ever worth taking is a simple walk in the park.
Fear is still part of my life, but I don’t let it bother me as much as I used to. After going through difficult times and surviving them, I’ve learned that tough times are temporary, as long as you don’t let yourself wallow in them.
A bad situation is only irreversible if you let yourself accept it as all you deserve.
Positivity requires the strength to not accept a bad situation as your fate. It requires you to be resilient and creative enough to never let yourself be cornered where you don’t want to be.
While fake smiling is still a bit too much for me, I’m glad to embrace the courage and strength that positivity requires, and I hope to never let go.