I have never considered myself a positive person. I, like many others, was always told that optimists have their head in the clouds and pessimists are actually realists. The world is harsh and cold, and we just have to accept that life sucks.
That never sat right with me, that defeatist attitude, but I naively believed that others knew better than I did. I was childish for seeing the best in people. If I wanted to help people, someone invariably took advantage of that and treated me like a doormat. I struggled with that for a long time. With my perception on what positivity means, and what being positive makes people think. I used to put so much stock in other people’s opinions that I didn’t have a voice to speak out anymore.
As always, this post will be about me. I don’t know you, I don’t know your experiences and I can’t tell you a universal truth. I can tell you my truth. I can share my stories and my experiences. I can show you where I found my answers, so that you can find yours. If my words can resonate with you, if I can reach you, then I hope I can somehow help.
I like stories with happy endings. I like kids shows. I cry easily. These are things that people say make me immature. If I look at the world with a positive outlook, people say I must have led a charmed life.
I have depression and anxiety. I’ve been cast aside from jobs I loved. I’ve been degraded and emotionally abused, and made to feel like I am nothing, for a long time. I remember very little of my past, and I’m told that I spent more time in hospital than at home in my younger years.
Yet, I would agree that I have everything I need. I’m happy. That doesn’t mean I don’t struggle, but I choose to value the bright points over the dark ones. Is it easy? No. Is it worth it? Absolutely.
Everyone deserves to be happy. If it’s true that the world sucks, then all we need to do is manage expectations and adjust how we perceive situations. The world does not owe us anything. That means that everything we are given is a blessing, and everything we achieve we have earned. Anything we are lacking is within our power to gain if we decide it is worth the time and energy to do so.
You might have seen my post on Redundancy recently. I liked my job, loved it really, and they decided that I didn’t add enough value to stay with the precarious situation the world was (and still is) in. I was devastated. However, without that push I would never have taken the risk and applied for a job at a company I have always wanted to work for. A year later, I have more confidence and more self worth, and I can acknowledge that it was the best thing that could have happened to me.
Not everything is as it seems in the moment. Things get better. I wish I could go back in time, even just ten years, and tell myself that I could be this happy. That one day I would be ready to start believing.
A simple mindset shift can make a world of difference when you feel powerless and swept up in the world around you. You are in control.
In one of my previous jobs, I had a manager that constantly bullied me. As soon as my colleague left the room, he would intimidate and berate me. I had been made redundant for the second time, I was recovering from a traumatic pregnancy, and we had to leave our flat and move back in with my family. I was in a very bad place, and he spent two years reminding me why everything I did was wrong and I was useless.
The worst part was that, when I got up the courage to talk to HR, they did nothing. Everyone knew what his personality was like. I was made to feel like I was overreacting and that this was my problem. Other people in my position had left after a couple of months. I had never actively left a job before, and I was desperate to find a place I belonged. Everything about that place was wrong and toxic, and I felt trapped and alone.
The only thing that helped me break that cycle was my daughter. If I thought that I would never allow someone to talk that way to her, then why should I deserve less? If I thought it wasn’t acceptable for someone to speak that way to her, then why would I listen to it myself. Children learn by watching us. If I let someone treat me badly without stepping up, then my daughter would eventually learn to do the same. By allowing that kind of behaviour, I was telling myself and others that it was OK to treat someone like that.
That was the first time I realised that I deserve to be treated the way I treat others. That I deserve to value myself the way I value others. That I was once a daughter that someone would want to protect and cherish.
I was given an opportunity to leave, and I took it. I don’t honestly know if I would have had the strength to take the step without someone offering a hand. Even if I had help, I still took the step. My family supported me, but the work was still mine. Even when I stumble or fall, that doesn’t take away the distance I travelled. When I need to take the steps again, it’s a little easier because I know what the journey looks like. I know the pitfalls.
There is something very empowering about acknowledging that you have a choice. You can’t control what happens in the world around you. What you can do is control how you respond. You can dictate how to deal with the situations you find yourself in. You can weigh up your options.
If you hate your job, you can choose to leave. You can choose to walk out and you can choose to look for another job. We all have bills to pay and things we use to tie ourselves in knots. You have the power to decide if the risks of changing jobs outweigh the issues you have with it. If you choose to stay, you can decide to focus on finding happiness outside of work. You can change your “Fate”.
You don’t need to earn the right to be happy. You don’t need to be happy all the time, and it’s OK and normal to have low days (or even weeks). Being unhappy does not mean that you can’t be happy or don’t deserve to love yourself. You are not failing.
You can choose to view the glass as half full. You can choose to change your perceptions and you deserve positivity.
You are empowered and defined by the choices you make. Your reactions decide the outcomes of the situations you are in, and you can choose how to react. You have more influence on your world than you realise.
A positive attitude can show you that failure is an opportunity. A challenge is a chance to excel or try something new. The goal of a hurdle is not to trip you up, but to give you something to leap over; to show you that you can. Even if you stumble or fall, you learn something. Even if what you learn is simply that your first method didn’t work, it opens new doors.
Believing that you deserve positivity is, thankfully, not the first step in the journey. The first step is to get up the courage to tell yourself that you do. Even if you don’t believe the words, say them anyway. Whisper them to yourself or shout it from a rooftop. But say them. Say them every day. Post them in the comments here, or on social media, or write them in your diary.
I deserve to be happy!
I’m going to do some posts on how to empower yourself with positive thinking, and how to rephrase the words you say and write to slowly rewire your brain towards positivity. There are a lot of things we tell ourselves that affect our outlook and our opinions of ourselves, even if we don’t realise it. So keep your eyes open for more positivity posts coming soon!
As always, if you made it this far I’d love it if you could tell me if this post was worth your time. Whether that’s with a like, a comment, or by contacting me separately, your responses really do make a difference to me. Plus, your input tells me if this kind of content is valuable for you all.