Let’s talk about positivity for a minute, shall we? There are a lot of polyamorous people out there who complain about not being able to find love, or feel love, or be in love, or experience love. They complain about their relationships, and basically blame other people (or their lack of having other people) for their inability to feel happy with themselves and their lives. Wait a minute – did I not tell you? You are the only one who can make yourself happy. It is no one’s responsibility but your own. Your happiness is in your complete control. But, how? What if you’re in a terrible relationship? What if you can’t find anyone to be with? What if the people you’re around are awful, or your situation is awful, or you just plain feel awful? How can you possibly be happy when everything is so horrid? Well, it’s quite simple…you need to be optimistic. In short, you need positivity.
A friend of mine recently said he felt like he had never been fully loved, like he was almost incapable of being fully loved. After speaking with him for a bit I realized that the reason he wasn’t feeling loved wasn’t because other people weren’t loving him. It was because of two things: 1) He wasn’t fully loving himself, and 2) He wasn’t fully loving other people. There is no way to truly feel the love of others unless you already love yourself completely. If you don’t love yourself 100% then the feeling you’re most likely having when others show you love is one of desperation or co-dependency. The feeling of needing that love from someone else is extremely unhealthy. If you truly love yourself, then it doesn’t matter if anyone else loves you or not. That being said, even if you love yourself, if you don’t fully love other people then you’re unable to pickup on the ways in which they’re loving you.
That first one is a given. In order to be loved, you must love yourself. The second one can be a little bit more tricky. Though, honestly, if you aren’t successful with #2 then most likely you aren’t being as success at #1 as you had thought you were, either. When it comes to someone’s ability to fully love other people it becomes quite complex. It’s hard enough to fully understand yourself and accept yourself for all your strengths and weaknesses, but when it comes to understanding and accepting somebody else like that…or just the world in general…how do you do it? How is it possible to see all the pain someone has caused you and still see them as a beautiful and lovable person? How is it possible to see all that is wrong in this world and still feel hope, and love? Still see the good? It’s tough, that’s for sure.
Here’s the thing. It’s really all about the way you think about things. Sometimes we get so bogged down with negativity that we start just seeing negativity everywhere, all around us. We tend to more easily read, or pick up on, the negative qualities we see or feel. But, guess what? We have complete control over our brains and the way they think. In order to start seeing the positive aspects of the world you live in, instead of focusing solely on the negative aspects, it just takes some rewiring. Now, don’t get me wrong, this rewiring process can be long and frustrating. But what’s the alternative? Would you prefer to just see things as hopeless and awful all the time? Or, do you want to start feeling content with everything? Do you want to start loving life again?
Alright I’ll tell you how this works. There are a couple different ways you can go about your rewiring. That is, there are a few different pathways you can take. Honestly, it helps the rewiring process the most if you take multiple pathways all to the same location – that really locks in that positivity, makes it a consistent and strong form of thinking. But starting off with only one thing is perfectly fine. Do what feels right for you. Here are a few suggestions: 1) You could start taking inventory at certain points during the day to remind yourself what is out there that is good, or that makes you happy; 2) You could assess the reasoning behind people’s actions and thoughts in order to find the root of good within them; or 3) You can surround yourself with things that make you happy.
Number 3 is not something you can do consistently (at least not at first), because you’re going to eventually run into situations or people who piss you off or make you sad, and then you’ll feel like you can’t be happy unless you completely eliminate those things, or stay safe amongst the things that make you happy, or hide away from anything new that could potentially become a negative emotion. This option is good for short term, and can work great once you’ve got the hang of all 3 things, but in the beginning it is best to add in at least one of the other two as well. The point of number 3 is that if you’re so used to being sad, or mad, or irritated, or whatever have you, it can help to make sure you spend time around things (or doing things) that make you happy so that, overall, life doesn’t seem so bleak.
Number one is a great place to start, especially if you’re new to this whole concept of rewiring. You can start off just taking inventory once a day if you’d like. Pick the morning or the evening. Sometime when you have some quiet time and space to really breathe and think. Then make a list of 10 things that are good in your life, things that make you happy, things that are positive. They can be people, qualities, hobbies, places, material possessions, relationships, food, etc. It really doesn’t matter. It can be as complex or as simple a list as you’d like. If you can’t think of 10 things every day that’s perfectly fine (though I will challenge you to come up with at least 3). And, of course, if you ever want to write more than 10 things down that’s fine too. The only rule for this is that the 10 things must be different every day. I don’t want you writing down the same 10 things every time, because that defeats the purpose. The point is to become more aware of the plethora of things out there that you appreciate, that you are thankful for. The point is to bring some perspective on the amount of positivity that surrounds you.
Number 2 can be a little more difficult because it requires you to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, really take on a different perspective, and grow in your ability to be compassionate. During this exercise (which can be done during interactions with others, or after the fact), you need to take some time to really think about where the other person is coming from. What is the good that lies behind their actions? What positivity is within those hurtful words? Look deep down inside them and figure out what their true intentions are, what their real motives are, and why they have them. Sometimes this requires you to embrace the negativity in someone else in order to see them in a positive light. Trying to understand another person’s pain can allow you to see their mistakes or their faults or their messes as beauty attempts at loving themselves and those around them. Remember, we’re all human. No one is perfect. If you can’t see things positively 100% of the time, why would you assume someone else can?
This exercise can be used in basically any situation. If someone is arguing with you, try to understand why they think what they think, and try to understand why it’s important to them to argue that fact. What is the argument rooted in? Their insecurities? Their shame? Their own feelings of inadequacy, or depression, or empty anger? If they are someone close to you and they are saying hurtful things – what might their intentions be in saying them? Did they feel backed into a corner? Were they protecting themself? Were they trying to protect you? Are they the ones hurting deep down? If you are able to look at those around you, and see them completely, as whole people (with strengths and weaknesses and pasts different from your own), then you will be more capable of understanding them and accepting them as they are. You’ll be more capable of seeing the good behind the bad. You’ll be more capable of looking positively at negative (or challenging) situations. You’ll be more capable of loving them, honestly and genuinely, really loving them. For all their lightness, and all their darkness, and all their complicated beauty.
Until you’re able to see and love others for who they are (whether you like them or not), you’ll be unable to feel like you’re living in, and around, positivity. You’ll see the gloom and doom around you and you won’t feel like putting in effort is worth it. You need to be able to find that gleam of light in the darkest of places and pull that out until it is shining bright all around you. I’m not saying, by any means, that you shouldn’t acknowledge the bad things. You should. But you should accept them, try to understand them, and bring hope and love into them (instead of letting them bring hopelessness and hate into you). This doesn’t mean that you need to spend all your time around that asshole drunk who won’t keep his hands off of you. But if you’re able to see him as something more than just that. If you’re able to see into him, and understand him, and love him as a whole person (even if you don’t like him), then his presence or the thought of him, won’t be such a negative thing and it won’t hold such a big impact on your existence. See the good around you. It’s there. It’s everywhere. It’s within you. Love yourself, and love others…fully, completely, genuinely. And then maybe you’ll find that your life is full of happiness and beauty, even when others can’t see it.
P.S. It doesn’t hurt to be the one who brings the positivity either. Be the kindness you want to see in the world, and all that jazz.