…or, How I’m Learning to Avoid Negativity in Life
It’s funny how the previous post written in October 2011 is called “My Life is (Not) a Musical,” and since then I’ve been in two local productions of musical theatre: A Christmas Carol and Legally Blonde! I’ve met some wonderful people through those experiences, and made some great connections. But I’m still working on developing my acting chops, so I’m off to more auditions, and actively looking for an acting coach/class and voice instructor.
Today, I quickly wanted to talk about keeping a positive attitude. It can be difficult, but I always work hard to avoid negative situations. It’s draining sometimes. It’s exhausting. Granted, being completely positive all the time can come across as fake or even immature, but I’d rather do that than focus on the bad.
One of the songs in Legally Blonde: The Musical is called Positive. Have a listen:
Before this scene, the main character Elle discovers that her ex-boyfriend has a new girlfriend. So in the song, Elle is visited by her sorority sisters–the Delta Nu greek chorus–who are actually voices in her head. They try to convince Elle to win him back by fighting the new girlfriend. Elle, however, maintains that it’s best to keep things positive.
I was missing in that choreography, but it was a lot of fun for those involved in that number I’m sure. Sometime during or after this song backstage, a fellow cast mate and new friend hugged me then said, “Oh, I love that you are so positive.” She brightened up my day.
So how does one stay positive? Here are my first three rules to maintain a positive attitude:
- Avoid negative people in your life.
- Immerse yourself in positivity.
- Change the way you communicate.
AVOID NEGATIVE PEOPLE
There is something valid in venting about frustrations at work, at school, or from personal relationships. It’s healthy, even, to avoid letting the bottled-up craziness explode. I tend to draw the line at constant diatribes and noxious bile. Do you know people who do this? They can really change the mood at a party or gathering.
Embrace as many good things as you can throughout your day: listen to music with positive lyrics, read books and articles with strong positive messages, or watch movies that uplift your soul. You should know by now that the “evening news” tend to be sensationalistic for a reason: ratings. And while it is important to stay abreast of current events, try your hardest to filter through the hyperbole. A few years ago, for example, some cousins were driving down to visit. The news reported on a harsh storm that was also on its way toward our area. A close family member focused so much on watching ONLY the weather updates (on TV, online, on the radio) that he convinced himself that our cousins were in danger of dying in a car accident due to the storm. Our cousins arrived safely, and the situation really opened this close family member’s eyes to how easily negativity can manipulate your well-being.
CHANGE COMMUNICATION PATTERNS
As strange as this sounds, try to write (email, texts, statuses, etc.) and speak (to co-workers, friends, family, etc.) by leaving out words such as, “no” or “not.” A professor in graduate school drilled this into me; so now I notice the negativity everywhere. Children say, “I can’t do it.” Signs read, “No loitering.” It’s fast. It’s direct. It gets the job done, but why contribute more bad vibes? It might seem difficult at first to restate these sentences, but soon you’ll see how creatively you can change a sentence to provide the same message. “No smoking” becomes “Avoid smoking.” “No Public Restrooms” becomes “Restrooms for Valued Customers.” You get the idea. Be creative. Use your imagination!
CAVEAT: I’m generalizing in this post. Life is not always so simple. Yes, bad things happen in life and sometimes you need to have a negative vent-fest, but it passes, you take a deep breath, then you move on. I’m writing this post because I noticed lots of recent conversations with friends about not letting the negativity in this world take over your life. Too many bad vibes will make you emotionally unstable and physically sick.
Image source: My sister, Blanca M. Obregón, is a photographer. You can see some of her work at her website for MimiLu Photography.