There are hundreds of self-help books on the market that promote positive thinking. People turn to these books when they are in the middle of a crisis or struggling to get where they want to be in life. While I myself have never felt that the help I required could be found in these books, I do feel that the ultimate message is good and that people helping themselves is never ever a bad thing. I want to make it clear straight away that I am not talking about people with depression. Depression is a very real illness that you can’t just ‘snap out of’. It must be handled with sensitivity and care, and with the assistance of doctors.
Some people are luckier than others in what they are born into, but really it’s about our actions. I struggle with people who feel the world owes them something. For most, things aren’t just handed to us on a plate, it’s about hard work, it’s about drive and focus. Discovering what you want and then doing everything in your power to get it, not waiting around for it to happen because it rarely does. Look at some of the great entrepreneurs like Sir Alan Sugar and Steve Jobs, they didn’t have privileged backgrounds but worked hard, had vision and have accomplished so much.
I have a friend who lost her mum at age 16, was passed around family members and separated from her sibling, a long and painful story but not my story to tell. She is now 19 has qualifications, a great job and pays her own way in life. Even though she had every reason and every right to lack motivation and to give up, she didn’t. She pushed herself and she really is a true inspiration to me. There are times when she herself says she feels ‘lost’ but she just keeps on going. She has managed to turn her life around in the last three years and she has done it all herself, she should be so proud of what she has achieved.
Then there is Stephen Sutton, who I’m sure many of you have heard of. A brave teenager who has been battling an incurable cancer for three years. He has been making sure that the time he has left is being put to good use and has now raised over three million pounds for the teenage cancer trust (https://www.justgiving.com/Stephen-Sutton-TCT ). People like this make you truly grateful for what you have and give you motivation to go for what’s important to you.
I am not naturally a positive thinker, if I’m honest the glass is always half empty in my mind and I am really trying hard to work on that. To help with this I set myself a little task. Every day in April I had to note down at least one event that I needed to be grateful for, ‘Grateful April’. At first I really struggled to find one item a day because my mind-set was to focus on the bad occurrences. After a week I was putting at least 3 good things a day and I honestly found that by concentrating on the good, the bad seemed less important. The good things didn’t have to be massive, some examples of mine were the sun was shining, an impromptu child free night out with my husband and a lie in until 7.30am (my son is usually up before 7am). Although a huge thing that did happen was my husband had a sickness bug and I felt no anxiety. If you have read my post on Emetophobia you will understand why this is such a big deal to me. I could have looked at the negative but actually a negative situation showed me how far I’ve come with my phobia and that was by far the most positive experience in April.
While I don’t believe that sitting around thinking positively can get you what you want in life, I believe that positive thinking helps you motivate yourself to go get what you want in life and enables you to dwell on the negatives less. Help yourself to help yourself, by believing, striving and achieving. Success is all the more sweet when you’ve worked for it.