"Yeah, It's been a ride...
I guess I had to go to that place to get to this one
Now some of you might still be in that place
If you're trying to get out, just follow me
I'll get you there..."
Next month it will be Positively Present's two-year anniversary and thinking about that has made me pause and reflect on how things used to be and how they are now. Before I started this site, I was in a particularly low place in my life. I didn't think I would ever come out of it, and most of the time I didn't even care. But, for whatever reason, two years ago something inside me demanded a change and I started working on living a more positive and present life. I knew I needed to be living my life differently and, in order to do that, I knew a lot of things about the life I was living would have to change.
It has not been easy -- at ALL. Since I started this site, I've made a lot -- and I do mean a lot -- of changes in my life in an attempt to make every day more positive and to live more in the present. If someone had told me two years ago that I would be living the life I currently am, I never would have believed her. So much has changed but, oddly enough, all of these changes have brought to a place where I am more of who I am. It has taken me awhile to get out of the place where I was so unhappy, but I've made a lot of strides in the right direction and every day I'm making process.
If, as Eminem's quote implies, you find yourself in a place where you're not living a positive life, where you're unhappy and wanting to get out of where you are and into another place, take a look at the To Do list I've created below for living a positive life. These are the things that I've done to get to me to where I am now. Some days I'm still struggling, still seeking something, but when I reflect on how far I've come, I can't help but give credit to all of the changes that have made my life so much better. If you add these items to your daily To Do list, I can guarantee that you'll find your way out of a negative place and into a positive one.
Top 10 To-Do's for a Positive Life
1. Stop doing the things that make you unhappy. This is number one on the list for a reason. Too often we spend time and energy doing things that make us unhappy and too often we don't make the connection between what causes our unhappiness. Look at your life carefully. Are you doing anything that makes you unhappy? When you find yourself at your lowest points, is there anything you can pinpoint that has caused the low point to occur? Often there are patterns that we just don't admit to. Take an extra close look at any alcohol or drug use because these are too often the cause of serious unhappiness and negativity.
2. Surround yourself with people who bring you up -- not down. Just like you must look at the actions your taking and choose not to do things that cause you unhappiness, you must also choose not to be around people that cause you to be unhappy. Sadly, too many people surround themselves with individuals that don't bring them up. If you find that people in your life are bringing you down -- yes, even family members or significant others -- you have to find a way to separate yourself from them. If you want to live a truly positive life, you must be surrounded by positive influences.
3. Invest some serious time in self-love and soul searching. If you want to live a positive life, you must know what it is that you stand for and what matters to you. The only way to go about learning to love yourself is to invest time in it. It might sound silly to some, but finding true love for yourself and really knowing who you are is essential for living your most positive life. Before you can love anyone or anything else fully, you must first love yourself. Don't ever think about self-love or soul searching as a waste of time because, honestly, it is such a valuable asset to living life positively.
4. Spend your time doing the things you love to do. Once you've rid your life of doing things that make you unhappy, you'll suddenly have a lot more free time on your hands. What to do with that all that free time? Spend it doing things you absolutely love to do. Take a moment to think about the times you are the happiness. What are you doing during those times? It doesn't matter if it's a silly thing or something that other people don't quite get. What matters is this: if something makes you genuinely happy, you should spend time doing it.
5. Revise the way you look at the world around you. When going from a negative outlook to a positive one, I really had to spend time thinking about the way I was looking at things. The way you see the world around you is a choice. You can choose to look for the good or you can choose not to. It's completely and entirely up to you. Once I realized this, I understood that it didn't make much sense to focus on the bad things in life. Sure, I had to acknowledge them, but I certainly didn't need to dwell on them. Change your point of view and your whole life will change too.
6. Be open-minded to new (or old!) ideas of living a positive life. I used to be the kind of girl who would scoff at an article like this, thinking these kinds of ideas were pretty much bullshit. However, the more I started opening my mind to new ideas, the more I started realizing that there are a lot of awesome people out there in the world living positive lives and, really, why shouldn't I listen to them? If someone has been successful with an idea for living a positive life, it's at least worth considering. Every idea might not work for you, but having an open mind really helps lead to a positive life.
7. Stop beating yourself up about the past. For too long, I spent way too much time thinking about, revisiting, and quite literally going backward into the past. It was pointless and painful, but for years I did it and caused myself (and others) a great deal of unhappiness. Hard as it is to admit sometimes, the past is over. Going back to it or fretting about it or beating yourself up over it does absolutely nothing. Yes, you can look at your past and learn from it, but you do not need to continue to blame yourself for it or revisit it constantly in your mind. What's done is done. The sooner you learn from it and move on, the better.
8. Don't seek happiness outside of yourself in things or people. One of the things I always used to do was seek happiness outside of myself. If I was feeling unhappy or drowning myself in negativity, I would look outside myself for a solution. But, ultimately, no matter what I turned to, the negativity within me remained. It might be tempting to rely on other people for your happiness or turn to habits like shopping, eating, or drinking to quell your negative state of mind, but, believe me, those outside things never do the trick. You must seek happiness and positivity within yourself. It really is the only way to truly live a positive life.
9. Believe you have the ability to change your own life. This can be a hard one for many people. Over and over again they think or say the worst two words I used to be so familiar with and now dread: "I can't..." The second you let yourself think that way about changing your life, you're setting yourself up for failure. If you don't believe you can change your life, then it's going to be pretty hard to actually do it. Believing in yourself sounds so cliche, but there's a reason that concept has stuck around for so long. Without it, you'll paralyze yourself and living a positive life will be pretty darn impossible.
10. Refuse to give up, no matter what happens or what people say. A lot of people look down on those trying to better their lives. Perhaps it is jealousy or fear or just plain ignorance, but for whatever reason, people may judge you. When you strive to change your life -- even if you do only one thing on this list -- there may be people that criticize you or attempt to stand in your way. Don't let them. Don't let anyone or anything come between you and living the life you want to be living. Remember that, no matter what, this is YOUR life. If you want to live it positively, do it and don't let anyone or anything stand in your way.
As much as I'd advise you to do every one of the things on this To Do list, I know from experience how hard even one of these things can be. It takes a lot of hard to work to live a positive life, especially if you're struggling with negativity. But know this: even if you do one thing on this list, your life will improve. And you owe it to yourself to at least give it a try. If you want to live a positive life, do it. There may be obstacles and it may be hard to get from that negative place to a positive one, but, believe me, all of the work will be worth every ounce of effort you put into it because nothing is better than loving the life you're living.
How do YOU live a positive life?
What would you add to this To Do list?