I can definitely relate to Langston Hughes’ poem Mother to Son because, “Life for me [truly] ain’t been no crystal stair.” In my twenty-seven years on this earth, I’ve been up, I’ve been down, I’ve had good times, and I’ve had some pretty tough times. In the last few years or so I’ve had no control over my biggest stressors. Yet, one thing I’ve learned is to keep pushing, and eventually life will get better. And even if life doesn’t get better, I adjust my attitude. Ultimately, I’ve been able to deal with what life throws at me.
Below lists the 7 ways I’ve fought to maintain a positive attitude in every area of my life. I am by no means an expert, but I have had a few major crises that have taught me a few things.
- Have hope. No matter what happens, I believe that I’m on this earth for a reason. God has a plan for my life, and I still have work to do. My favorite scripture on hope is Romans 5: 2-5:
Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
- Learn to self-encourage/self-motivate. My parents taught me to find ways to encourage myself and not alway rely on others to encourage me. They knew there would be times when I could only rely on myself and God to get through. I’ve realized that to change my attitude I just need to get up and tell myself that I can make it. Whenever I need an extra push I pray and sing to myself the song Encourage Yourself by Donald Lawrence and the Tri-City Singers.
- Help others. This is helpful for two reasons: 1) people receive help; and 2) I gain happiness and fulfillment from helping others. I’ve found it effective to refocus and realize that even if I cannot fix all of my problems right away, I can help another person.
- Surround yourself with honest, yet positive people. Trust me, if you constantly surround yourself with negative people or a negative person, it will rub off. Everyone goes through tough times and no one will be positive all the time, but I’ve found that it’s crucial to find people who will uplift you. You can start the positive cycle in your life by uplifting those around you.
- Work hard, play hard. I always find myself the most content and productive when I have the work hard, play hard attitude. I aim to complete my work to the best of my abilities, then enjoy myself my free time. Also, working out hard keeps me positive. Not only do I see my body in a healthy state, working out releases endorphins.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously. This is huge. Life is definitely not all about me. I’ve learned to to laugh at myself knowing that I don’t have to be perfect all the time. I am not concerned with everyone’s opinion of my life. And to be honest, most people probably don’t even care about all the areas in my life that concern me. This releases a lot of unnecessary pressure.
- Get help. This is last, but definitely not least. You may not always be able to stay positive on your own. I’ve had times where I’ve had to reach out to others. When necessary, talk to a trusted family member or friend. If your situation is substantial or long-lasting, you may want to look into talking to a counselor, mental health professional, or doctor. There is nothing wrong with getting help.
Hopefully, these tips will give you some tools for facing life’s challenges with a positive attitude. This is what has worked for me so far. You may have developed your own methods of staying positive. If so, we’d love to hear about it in the comments.