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Staying positive in recovery (and life in general) can be an ongoing challenge. Life will throw a lot of messes at you. It’s not always your fault, but how you handle those messes is up to you. And while it’s okay to cry, kick, scream, and wallow every now and then, I think you should make the choice to stay positive.
Don’t let a few disastrous moments cause you to give up on everything. Even the people who you think have better lives than you have had awful things happen to them.
I didn’t make any concrete New Year’s Resolutions, but I did decide to do a little project based off something I saw on Tumblr. Every time something good happens to me, I’m going to write it on a slip of paper and put it in a jar. Then at the end of 2014, I’ll go back and read about all the awesome things that happened this year. Every little thing counts; I’m not going to judge if something is “good enough” to go in the jar. Everything from road trips with friends to the time I got free food at the taco shop is allowed to count.
I think staying positive has to include letting yourself be happy about the small stuff. We overlook so many amazing things in our lives because we’re too busy noticing the lack of major milestones. Sure, you didn’t win the lottery or get a job promotion this year like your friend over there did. But you’re still allowed to be psyched about getting a good grade on a project or your favorite band releasing a new album.
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I actually keep a notebook filled with things that make me happy (I have over 600 items on the list so far!) so when I feel like life sucks and there’s nothing good in the world, I have a list I can turn to. Just like the jar project, anything goes. Looking at pictures of cats, getting brunch, finding a good pair of leggings – the only prerequisite for being on the list is making me happy.
Are these ideas a little bit cheesy and sappy? Absolutely. But I think if you want to stay positive and fully experience life, you can’t be worried about looking cheesy and sappy. Think about when you’re in love with someone: it’s totally sappy. You giggle a lot, you smile just thinking about things like the way they put on their sweater, you write cutesy text messages to each other, and you’re so busy noticing all the awesome stuff you don’t even worry about looking sort of silly. Self-love should be the same way.
If it helps you stay positive and love yourself more, don’t worry about how it makes you look. Frame inspirational quotes and hang them around your house. Leave yourself positive reminders on post-its and put them in your wallet. Give yourself pep talks in the mirror. Put on an outfit that makes you feel confident and take selfies. Keep a notebook of happy things. These things help more than you think they do. And if you try them and they don’t help, find something else to try.
If you want to start practicing more positive thinking, you have to be willing to try new ideas. The positive in your life is there – but sometimes you have to go looking for it.
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