A Guest Post on Positivity by Lara Schiffbauer

Hello Ladies and Gents!  I’ve got some mood boosting tips to share with you courtesy our Life List Club guest today, Lara Schiffbauer!  Get your happy on by reading her post and then, if you miss me, blog hop on over to my fellow founder’s place, Marcia Richards, where you’ll find me telling you why sleep is a good thing!  Zzzzzzzz  *Oops, nodded off there for a minute!  Back to Lara!

Stop me if you’ve heard this one.

A husband and wife are getting ready for bed. The wife is standing in front of a full-length mirror taking a hard look at herself.

“You know, dear,” she says, “I look in the mirror, and I see an old woman. My face is all wrinkled, my hair is grey, my shoulders are hunched over, I’ve got fat legs, and my arms are all flabby.” She turns to her husband and says, “Tell me something positive to make me feel better about myself.”

He studies hard for a moment, thinking about it and then says in a soft, thoughtful voice, “Well, there’s nothing wrong with your eyesight.”

I don’t think she got what she was wanting, do you?

The problem?  She is looking for affirmation outside of herself.

“Self-confidence gives you the freedom to make mistakes and cope with failure without feeling that your world has come to an end or that you are a worthless person.” -Anonymous

How many times do we set goals and then, when we attain them, we aren’t satisfied?

Or, the satisfaction is short lived, and we begin to doubt ourselves again once the heady rush of success passes.

Or, we receive a compliment that, in the moment, seems to be the justification we need to feel confident about the path we are treading, only to return to insecurity within moments, hours, days, etc… of being given the compliment.

It seems crazy, and maybe we feel a little crazy when we are blown about by our emotions like this.  I sure do!

Self-confidence must be grown, most usually by experiencing success in the areas that you wish to have achievement.

(source: google images)

Positivity, the quality of being encouraging or promising of a successful outcome, is a personality trait that can be developed.

We can change how we think, and thereby change how we feel.  Instead of waiting for others to encourage us, we can encourage ourselves, if we follow the simple steps below.

  • Recognize when we have unhelpful thoughts.  The words ‘what if’, ‘why me’, ‘if only’, ‘I should have’, or any time we look for other people to give us value or worth are indications that we are not being positive.
  • Stop! Interrupt the negative little voice in the middle of your mind.  You may have heard about people snapping their wrists with a rubberband to break a habit.  The idea is the same, but you don’t have to hurt yourself.  When you hear the negativity start, all you have to do is firmly say to yourself “STOP.”
  • Replace the thought with a positive one.  Talk kindly to yourself.

Let’s use the opening joke as an example.

The woman was criticizing herself.  When she first thought “Look at me, I’m an old woman,” she would recognize that perception of herself as unhelpful.  She would have told herself “Stop.  I am no longer a youngster, but I still can walk, I am good at hang-gliding, and I have a lot of fun when I play in the park with my grandkids.”

She wouldn’t lie to herself.  That’s not helpful, and neither is dwelling on what she cannot control.  But instead of dwelling on what she is not, she would focus on what she is.

(source: google images)

And that’s the key to positivity.

We don’t ask others to support us, with platitudes or compliments.

By focusing on who we are and/or what we do well, we encourage ourselves through the process of goal achievement.

Once we’ve attained our goals, we increase our self-confidence, and the positivity loop continues on and on and on!

Lara Schiffbauer writes contemporary fantasy and general fiction, and has been lucky enough to see some of her short stories published.  By day she works as a school social worker in an elementary school and at night juggles writing, playing with her two adorable little boys, and doing everything else that has to get done in a day. You can find her on Twitter at @LASbauer or blogging at Motivation for Creation.

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22 responses

  1. I’ve never thought of positivity as a trait that can be trained, but I guess if we can train ourselves to be punctual or get up and workout every morning, we can also train ourselves to think more positively 🙂 My biggest one is probably “I should have.” I’m always second guessing my decisions, but really I made the best choice I could with the information I had. It doesn’t do any good to beat ourselves up for not knowing something we couldn’t possibly have known. (Sorry, that’s a bit of a tongue twister 🙂 )

    1. Thanks for commenting, Marcy! I hate the “shoulds”. I can’t remember where I’ve seen it or heard it, but I now live by “Stop shoulding on yourself.” You are so right that shoulds are one of the thinking errors that can sink us! Good for you for recognizing that we can only do the best we can!

    2. You know what was a really interesting read? Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project (yes, my blog is named after it). One of the chapters she wrote challenged exactly what Lara writes about. The power of ourselves to begin thinking more positive and happier thoughts. It definitely does help. I started keeping a gratitude journal to remind myself there are good things in each day, even if sometimes it’s just refreshing ice water. 🙂

  2. Good thoughts, Lara.

    BTW, when I heard about the wife looking in the mirror, the punchline was that the husband would be getting out of the hospital in another week.

  3. Thanks for sharing your wisdom, Lara. Staying positive or being negative are both habits. Some habits, like exercising are good for you. Smoking is bad habit. That being said, sometimes it’s hard for me to be around a smoker or a negative person.

    1. Yep – I love cognitive therapy. What we think affects how we feel and what we do. Cognitive therapy in a nutshell. It is easy to get roped back into negativity. I’m constantly fighting with myself! But, like anything else, the more you practice, the easier it becomes.

      1. And practice makes perfect!

  4. Amen! It’s so easy to beat up on ourselves. To see what we’re not and what we don’t have. We have to make ourselves see what we can do and what we do have. We have to embrace that. And we do need to make ourselves talk to ourselves like friends…instead of like the nagging, guilt-tripping relative from you-know-where. LOL. Thanks for reminding us, Lara.

    1. So true! I would never talk to a friend the way I do to myself when I do something embarrassing. I love the comparison to the nagging, guilt-tripping relative!

    2. Great point, Sonia! I’d never thought of it this way. It’s that Mrs. Danvers voice coming out or the cranky, bossy relative weighing in on a life that’s not theirs. We should be kinder to ourselves and I will keep this visual in mind!

  5. Great post, Lara! I particularly liked the way you used the little anecdote at the begin to smooth the way into your main topic, then went back to it at the end to reinforce your points–not to mention the useful advice you give 🙂

    1. You would never say that your lady would you? LOL

      Smart advice, indeed, both for relationships and personal happiness.

      1. lol…certainly not 🙂

    2. Thanks, Mike, and thanks for stopping by! You soothed my fears, because I wrote this late on Weds., and wasn’t sure today that it made much sense. (stage fright, I think) I’m glad it worked out!!

      1. Not to worry…you did a great job.

  6. Great post, Lara! Over the years, I’ve gotten pretty good at doing this in many aspects of my life. Like the other day when I was getting ready for work, I noticed dark circles under my eyes, and a new gray strand in my hair and started to mentally harp on myself over my looks. I caught myself and actually said “Seriously? For a 41 year old chick who has worked her butt off more than full-time and has been for 20 years who stays up way too late writing, you look pretty damn good!” My next challenge is to get this kind with myself when it comes to writing – not that I want to be too easy on myself but I’m often my own worst critic : ).

    1. Yah, I agree it’s a little different with writing. You want to push yourself to try new avenues, allow creativity in your work. But you don’t want the coulda, shoulda, woulda’s to turn into barriers of getting that writing time.

      Glad you have dark circles! You can sleep when I’m reading your book!

    2. We writers are hard on ourselves, aren’t we! Maybe it’s because you never can reach “the top.” There’s always something to learn, or tweak, or change, or fix. But that also is what makes writing such a challenge and exciting to pursue. I’ve had to just tell myself to “It’s the best you can make it right now. Just walk awaaay from the story.” Then later, when I’ve learned more, I can go back to it and see if I spot any glaring changes I think would make the story better. But sometimes, you just have to let go, and let it sink or swim on it’s own. Hard to do!

  7. Wonderful post,Lara! Positivity is a hard thing to grow, but so worth it. If you can learn to rely on what you know for sure about yourself and not have to depend on the reassurance of others, you’re way better off. Some people have just never gotten positive reinforcement from anyone, so they doubt everything about themselves until, by chance, they experience some successes. Then the light goes on.
    Great advice for everyone, Lara.

    1. Thanks, Marcia! Being negative can be difficult to overcome, but it is so worth overcoming. There are so many benefits to being positive, including better physical health, better mental health and just being happier! I am very happy I was born with the proclivity to positivity, but it is definitely worth learning, even if you aren’t!

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