This week, I’m getting real personal, and opening up about something I’ve been keeping below the surface for a while. It’s the stuff no one talks about: negativity.
However, it hasn’t been staying below the surface recently, and the reason why was because it didn’t belong there. Life isn’t always up. There are downs. That’s completely normal, and it’s healthy to acknowledge those feelings without having them define you. To say I have had a challenging few months emotionally is an understatement. After hitting speed bumps this year, I struggled with the positive thinking factor and it often made me feel worse about myself. The more I tried to force the feelings shut with a happy face, the worse the anxiety got, especially as a blogger, constantly being in the public eye. However, the truth is, I’m a real person, with real feelings. It’s okay to experience hardship and feel all the feels that go with it.
As a trainer and sales exec, it’s in my blood to help understand and empower others to realize their potential and find that the solution lies inside them, especially when it becomes almost impossible for them to see. I’ll start off by calling myself out on it, as for a while recently, I stopped taking my own advice. I felt ashamed for feeling upset and felt so much pressure to just roll over and jump back into positivity. I found myself self-sabotaging instead. It was toxic.
The bright line: a clearly defined standard, or state of mind. It establishes a clear marker for what is, and what is not. It’s not a mantra. It’s easy to make fuzzy statements and lie to yourself, however, these light and warm promises make it easier to not hold yourself accountable, as they’re impossible to measure.
The real solution to finding your true positive nature again are these three steps; it’s how I’m returning to the person I am deep in my heart: loving, honest, and passionately happy.
1. Feel the negative feels.
Negative thoughts are the yang to the positive yin. Life is a balance of the two, and it’s healthy to voice both them. Not all day all the time, but just that: balance. That’s always bothered me about the power of positive thinking movement. I felt so ashamed for my feelings; that approach didn’t solve it, it just buried deep down where it grew even bigger. It wasn’t healthy. When you’re in pain physically from an injury, it’s not irrelevant, and it’s a feeling that reflects your current reality.
When you experience emotions as a result of a traumatic event, it’s a rational and completely normal reaction. They are feelings that should never be ignored, but rather accepted, and heard. Why? Without those feelings, you cannot truly listen to yourself, and find out that they may be telling you something really important. Once you have acknowledged and let those feelings take their course, you’ll be able to let it go and find your heart again.
2. Establish YOUR bright lines.
Words matter. What bright lines are not:
“I want to eat healthier.”
“I want to lose 10 pounds.”
“I want to have more work-life balance.”
“I should be happy and secure with what I’ve accomplished in life so far, and where I’m going.” -me
Think about what these statements mean. They’re wishes, not action steps. Write down small steps you can take toward your goal, and make it a rule.
“I eat veggies with every meal.”
“I workout 3 times a week.”
“I only answer emails at work, and take time for myself once I leave the office.”
“I am grateful for everything in my life, and I show that to those around me by telling them I value them.” -me
3. Conserve your willpower for what matters.
By establishing clear lines for navigating your life, you save energy for what matters: changing your perspective. Dwelling around aimlessly on a wish, and trying to fix every perspective that’s relatable in your head is toxic, and dangerous. I learned that when you experience intense pain or hardship, it’s a challenging road back to who you are. When you take a huge blow and begin to rebuild, you are going to have good days, and you’re also going to have bad ones. Really bad ones. Trust me, I’ve been there. What’s important to remember, is that THAT is okay.
The most important step is acknowledging the negative, and accepting it. It’s okay to have negative thoughts every now and then, and they do not define you. You are defined by how you grow from setbacks, not by the negative thoughts you have in your darkest days. When you accept that there will be small failures along the way, you grow back in a healthy way. Holding yourself to this unrealistic constant state of positivity is detrimental in a crisis, and can sometimes be exactly what’s holding you back from finding your original happiness. Doing that is to live in self-denial, and that’s not healthy.
Take small steps with multiple bright lines, and focus on the positive of achieving the small things first. The rest will follow.