Sunday 24th December, 2006


Staying positive in a negative world

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Sadly, we live in a global atmosphere of negativity that permeates our society and affects us more than we know. It makes us sarcastic and cynical.

Add to that disease, emotional problems, financial limitations, and addictions. Throw in a job that constantly stretches us to our physical and emotional breaking point, and we have a substantial challenge.

The foul smell of evil has settled upon us as a tattered blanket and we seem powerless to hurl it off, rise up and rid ourselves of the stench. Despite attempts to manage and eradicate the ills of our society, our fear, discontent and confusion remains and increases daily. Indeed, the horizon looks cloudy.

We would like to believe that some time soon, we’ll be singing a different tune; a new song. As much as we might wish, the old time days may never return; we have no choice but to be realistic here.

Some say that things will get worse before they get better and others believe that we are too far gone to regain the good life we once had.

However we look at it, if we adopt the following five attitudes and practices, we will inevitably develop and exude a positive attitude that will be contagious thus helping us all to cope and survive.

1 Concentrate on what is working in your life.

Complaining incessantly does not focus on creating solutions; rather, it perpetuates and magnifies your problems.

Be grateful for the smallest daily and occasional blessings. In the grand scheme of things, God is doing his work, often unseen by our finite eyes. He requires only that we trust, obey and be thankful for the countless mercies.

2Be a positive force in the lives of others.

Get involved in making a positive change or contribution. Be vocal in support of the rights of women and children. Use your influence to do good where you live.

Shift your focus away from your own concerns to those that plague your community. Investigate how you can help. Even the smallest contribution in time accomplishes much.

3Speak up.

Ensure that you are not contributing to the negativity around you by engaging in, and listening to gossip or any conversation that is primarily denigrating or critical of other people. Sometimes, people do not consider their words, attitudes or actions to be negative and your silence gives them permission to continue. Just bringing it to their attention is enough to shift the conversation.

Become the kind of person who takes your time and your words seriously. Make your conversations positive and meaningful. Over time, people will accept the boundaries.

4Be an inspiration.

A few words of acknowledgement and encouragement may be all someone needs to keep holding on.

You can create a positive world one person at a time, by saying simple things like: “Thank you.” “Good work.” “I’m here for you.” and, “You can call me anytime.”

5Focus on what you can change.

Far too often, we dwell on the pain, inconvenience and frustrations inherent in circumstances that arise. We complain daily to everyone who will listen and nothing changes.

When faced with a distressing situation, ask yourself if you can control the events. If you can, change what you can. If you cannot, deal with it appropriately, let it go and move on.Positive environment

It is easy to be positive in a positive environment. It is when things are emotionally draining and the negativity threatens to consume you that you are challenged to step up to the plate and take action. When you do, you can make a difference — a positive impact that sends ripples throughout the community in which you work and live. Remember that a positive attitude catches on just as quickly as a negative attitude.

Learning how to be positive as you navigate through life is part of life’s lessons. Regardless of what is going on around you, do not add to the negativity that abounds. Be positive in spite of what other people do or say.

It is said that the human spirit is a mighty force; it is strong and capable of rising above the extreme vicissitudes that life sometimes inflicts. If you determine to stay positive and lead by example, you will find one day that your life has touched and influenced many to maintain a positive attitude in the midst of a negative world.

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