Do you consider yourself to be a happy and positive person? When times are bad, do you look for the possible lessons and appreciate your blessings? This is not always easy to do. Whilst on this journey of self-improvement, I found out a lot about myself. It started with being more aware and conscious of my behaviours. Here are some of them:
In the past, I used to be reactive and got upset easily. I was rather impulsive at times and I made judgements very quickly. Though nowadays I still get angry, I rarely lose my temper. When the unpleasant feelings arise, I tell myself what I am feeling, whether angry, irritated, annoyed or disappointed. When it is appropriate, I do share how I feel with the person involved and what caused the unpleasant feeling/s. Once my feelings subside, I am able to be more fair, objective and patient.
I try to avoid negative thoughts about others, myself or the situation. When I catch myself doing that, I tell myself to stop and see the positive in them. I think of the good qualities in that person and think about how to help and not hurt them.
I used to justify my actions, but that sometimes made me angrier as I thought I was not being heard or respected. I then found myself belittling others or exaggerating the facts especially if they did not favour me. What I have found useful is to pull back what I usually would just blurt out. Doing this requires one to hold back and sometimes literally bite the tongue. The brain works in funny ways. Every thought evokes feelings and hence incites all sorts of chemicals in the body. If one is used to reacting, such patterned behaviour requires a thought process to put the brakes on it.
Now I take a little more time to consider my thoughts and feelings. When evaluating a situation, look at the facts and not indulge in wishful thinking. Learn to accept facts and reality and consider your urges and inclinations. Then, ask yourself what and how you feel like responding and in what way does it serve your interests. If a change in behaviour has more pros than cons to both you and the other person, then it is worth doing it. Breaking these habits do not happen overnight and require effort and perseverance. When making a choice, think of the long term consequences and not the short term effects. Also, do not dwell on the past or spend time regretting what you have done.
Here are some things that can help one become a happier and more positive person:
- Exercise regularly.I make it a point to go for a brisk walk at least 3 times a week for about 30 – 45 minutes in the park. I love being with nature and this helps me think more clearly. I also feel fitter and do not fall sick as much as I used to.
- Take a job that you really enjoy doing.Training, sharing knowledge and my experiences is something I really love doing. It does get tiring but each time I get to meet different people from all walks of life. Also, when someone shares with me that they learnt a lot in my class, I get more motivated.
- Have a sense of purpose.Knowing that I have made a small difference in even the life of one person helps me know I am one step nearer to my goal. I was in survival mode for a very long time, just working to earn money and have a decent quality of life. But it was not a balanced life and I was not happy.
- Forgive yourself and others.Letting go of the past has been very uplifting for me. Being able to forgive myself was very challenging as I used to feel that I did not deserve it. Because I had high standards for myself, I also found it difficult to forgive others. But in learning to forgive, I have found a lot of inner peace.
- LIVE FULLY AS IF TODAY IS YOUR LAST!