It is not enough to think positively once in a while. We don't want positive thinking to be something that we do. We would like for it to become something that we are. We want to become positive, especially in bad times.
The sad thing is, it is not that easy to do. What is more sad is, often times it is easier to become negative in the face of a negative situation. Our emotional reaction to something will affect our overall state and our overall state will affect the people around us.
The bad news is, if we are negative, then our negativity will affect those who are around us. The good news is, the same thing can be said about positivity. The better news is, we can change from negative to positive by changing our mindset.
We have to intercept our negative thinking as it happens and modify it into something more positive. This doesn't mean that we deny the bad thing that had happened. We already established that it is a "bad" thing. We are only changing how we perceive it, so that we can change how we feel about it.
Our feelings can determine how we deal with the issue.
However, it is not as easy as it sounds. Thinking negatively when negative things happened is as expected. Bad things invite bad thoughts. So, changing this to something positive means that it would not be effortless, especially when we aren't used to thinking that way.
This change requires a lot of work and it can be mentally exhausting. To start off, we need to first pinpoint and identify the process as it happens in our mind. This requires self-awareness and self-monitoring.
Becoming self-aware, on its own, is hard enough. We find it easier to pay attention to other people than to ourselves. That's probably why we tend to judge others, but not ourselves. The Malays have a clever saying, "Kuman di seberang laut nampak, gajah di hadapan mata tak nampak."
It loosely translates to "You can see a germ across the ocean, but you can't see the elephant before your eyes. Meaning, it is easier for us to see the faults of others, even though they are small. But our own faults? We can overlook them even if they are as big as an elephant.
Self-awareness means that we look inward into ourselves and become aware with what's happening inside. Are we aware about the things that linger in our minds? Are we aware about the things that we say to ourselves, about ourselves?
When we are aware about ourselves, we need to constantly monitor ourselves. We can outsource that and give the job to another person, like a loyal friend to monitor our negative thoughts and remind us when a red flag comes up, but can anybody be with us all the time? No, not even our best friend can be with us all the time.
That leaves us with ourselves. The only person who can be with you all the time is yourself. Therefore, we need to equip ourselves with the necessary awareness about ourselves and what we do as we do it.
Self-monitoring enables us to catch ourselves red handed, when we are about to think negatively about something. That is a crucial first step, because identifying the problem is half of the battle. Once we have identified the negative thinking, through self-monitoring, then we can start to consciously modify the thought into something more positive.
Changing it into something positive is not enough by simply putting a positive spin on the situation. It also needs to be useful, meaning that the new thought should help us to deal with the situation better.
That is the goal of positivity; to deal with situations better, especially negative situations. The negative situation is negative, but it doesn't mean that we should feel negative about it. We may not be able to control what had happened, but we can definitely control how we perceive it.