We asked Amy Woodside of OKREAL to give us her take on good vibes. Here are a few ways we can all stay positive.
Do you remember when The Secret came out? I do. I am a disciple of the law of attraction: that whatever you focus on becomes your reality. Some might call this positive thinking. Some might call this BS. Positive thinking is misunderstood. It does not mean that if you think happy thoughts, you will float through life in a pink marshmallow, or that by creating an ‘abundance’ vision board you will get rich. Sometimes the universe does not actually catch you when you jump. Positive thinking is picking yourself up when that happens, and moving forward when you really don’t feel like it. Here are some tips on how.
The G Word
Next to ‘authentic’, gratitude is pretty up there on the annoying and overused word list. But it works. The most convincing argument I’ve heard is by superhuman Tony Robbins: “The antidote to fear is gratitude. The antidote to anger is gratitude. You can’t feel fear or anger while feeling gratitude at the same time.” Gratitude takes practice. I use The Five Minute Journal app, which prompts you morning and evening to write down what you’re grateful for, what amazing things happened that day, and what could have made the day better. If gratitude doesn’t work for you, perspective is a good back up. As a business owner I’m often putting out several fires at once, which collectively can feel like an entire building burning down. This is when I use the ‘big things’ rule. Are the big things in my life OK? My family, my health, my people? If I can tick that list off, I know I’m gonna be OK.
Act As If
Positivity is not always an act of joy. Sometimes it is a pain in the ass and you have no other option but to cheer up and get on with it. Tell yourself what you need to in order to snap out of it. Hate wasting time? Tell yourself that sulking is not productive. Need a favor? No-one wants to help someone who complains. A.L.C. founder Andrea Lieberman has great advice ( http://www.okreal.co/articles/women-courage-recap/ ) when it comes to acting like the person you want to be in order to become that person: “The best advice I’ve ever been given is to: ‘Act as if.’ You might not feel it, you might not be living it, but if you show up and ‘act as if,’ eventually you become it.” This is not limited to positivity. Want to be a gracious person? Act gracious. Want to be calm? Think: What would a calm person do right now? Do that. Want to be tough? Pretend you’re a tough person for a day. See what happens.
It’s Only A Failure If You Decide It Is
If you’ve hit a roadblock and positivity is too big of an ask, don’t force it. Be miserable for a bit. Then focus on the small thing you still have control over: your reaction. Are you going to let this defeat you, or are you going to let it teach you? We are not always responsible for our circumstance but we are always responsible for our reactions. Also—the biggest one—we are not responsible for how the world receives the work that we do. This one is tough, but there’s something liberating about doing the absolute best job you can, then letting go of the result. I had someone write to me about how to handle failure (http://www.okreal.co/articles/i-failed-now-what/), and tried to sum approach up in my response:
“We all have a truth inside of us, but we are not responsible for how that truth comes out. You’ve held your own truth in your hands, given it shape and form, created all kinds of expectations for it and fought to uphold them. You have done everything right. But ultimately, you are not responsible for what your truth looks like in the end, you are only responsible for keeping it alive. You must nurture it, let it grow, push it in what you feel is the right direction, course-correct—but you must let it fall, you must be forgiving. You must not give up on it. You must keep it alive one day at a time. It is a hard job, but it is the only job worth doing.”
If you commit to yourself in this way, it’s impossible to fail. Now throw those shoulders back and go forth!