Day 1: My Weaknesses in Positivity

How did it go?

Day one was harder than I thought.

I realized my negative thoughts actually begin as soon as I wake up—my alarm goes off and I just think “ugh, I can’t do this anymore.” So, this morning, I rephrased that to: “getting up this early let’s me take more time with Belle and I don’t have to stress about traffic.”

Surprise. It worked. Getting up was easier, and I felt better as I donned my work outfit (and I even tried harder on my makeup!).

But then there was traffic. I hate traffic, especially in such a large metropolitan area. And that got me negative super quick, so I had to reframe, and fast. I looked at it as an opportunity to really invest attention to podcasts and learning what they have to offer (my favorite podcasts are: Harry Potter and the Sacred Text, TED Radio Hour, Lore, Teaching in Higher Ed, and BrainStuff).

Once I refocused my attention on my podcast (still paying attention to the road, of course!) I noticed a small difference in my attitude as I pulled into the parking lot at work. Small, but noticeable.

Ah, work. Inevitably, there are parts of any job we just don’t like, for whatever reason. My strategy for this was to remind myself all assignments provide a learning opportunity. It can be difficult, though, for me to not let my mind spin when I’m at work, mainly because most of my work is on the computer. My favorite part of my job, though, is writing, hands down. That’s the time I get to be creative, even slightly, and form a narrative. So, I reframed all my work today into that: forming a narrative. Everything I did became part of some story.

And what I noticed about this surprised me, even though it shouldn’t have. I am happiest when I am writing.

At one point later in my day, a coworker and I started talking on a more personal level. This took a toll on me, and I had to take a few steadying breaths to stop myself from crying. I went back to my office and read the post that started this challenge, and I focused on 2 of them: stay in the present moment and trust in something bigger than yourself. I closed my eyes and prayed for peace, strength, and focus. I took a deep breath. I opened my eyes, looked at the work I had to do for the rest of the day, and got back to it.

What did I learn?

I learned some simple things: my negativity begins partly because of when I have to wake up (so maybe I need to work on changing that, too) and I am happiest when I write.

But I learned a singular hard lesson today.

Being positive is harder than I thought, and it’s more than just saying “everything is alright”; it’s a complete change of the way your mind works. As I’ve told my students countless times, beliefs and values are the hardest to change. When you have “believed” in negativity for so long, it won’t be easy to become positive, and it’s going to take more than telling yourself “have a good day!” (And sometimes even telling yourself that can be difficult.)

Today, really, I learned about myself–that I have been right about my passion and my weaknesses when it comes to positivity, the places I need to grow.

But I also learned I am willing to grow. And perhaps that was the most important lesson.

Is it sometimes difficult for you to be positive? What are your weaknesses when it comes to positivity?

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