This very may well sound like a tired statement, but it remains true that in order to have more positive external experiences or encounters, you must first increase the number of positive internal experiences.
What exactly do I mean by that?
Imagine you are just getting up to start your day. The sun is shining bright and beautiful through the windows, you’ve gotten up with enough time that you aren’t rushed or hurried while preparing to leave, you take your favorite shirt right out of the dryer to wear so it’s all warm and smells clean and fresh…and then you look at yourself in the mirror before stepping into the shower and you start to berate yourself because something about your body doesn’t look the way you want it to.
And just like, what should have been a delightful start to your morning falls flat and you walk out the door instead feeling deflated, irritated, and self-conscious. And while you may be going out into the world thinking, “well, I’m in a bad mood, but one kind interaction with someone will boost my mood right up,” you are still putting yourself at a disadvantage. You have effectively shielded yourself from receiving any external sources of positive energy and have mentally prepared yourself to seek out the negative energy that will support whatever negativity is already invading your mind.
When going out into the world, expecting positive energy to be given means you must be giving positive energy back.
This pulls in the “Wind, River, Circle” principle that guest blogger, Tara Henderson, shared with us in her post this past July. Wind for energy, River for ever-flowing positive thought, and Circle for completion and outcome; in order to receive those positive interactions that you’ve sought out to find, you must ensure that your own influences on your surroundings are positive.
You must remember two things if you are serious about actively increasing the number of positive interactions in your life: 1. The Golden Rule and 2. The Reverse Golden Rule.
The Golden Rule, the high ruling word of Kindergarten classrooms everywhere, “treat others the way you want to be treated.” For the amount of time that we are exposed to this teaching as young ones, it becomes harder and harder to remember and, more importantly, practice in adult life. Being jaded by experiences and carrying around the inevitably accumulated baggage that life brings with it makes it easy to write off this rule as being overly simplified, saying “real life is more complicated than that.”
But being simple doesn’t have to make it wrong. Being simple is what makes it one of the core blocks of our ingrained social behavior rules of conduct. Being simple makes it easy to repeat as a daily life mantra to ensure that those around you feel encouraged to send those considerate feelings back your way.
Now, perhaps even more difficult nowadays, is the Reverse Golden Rule, “treat yourself the way you treat others.” Say a friend is feeling self-conscious and divulges to you that she believes she is fat (or ugly, or any of those awful self-deprecations we prayed were simply associated with our awkward, changing teenage years and would disappear once our bodies “mellowed out”). What do you say to her here? Do you tell her that, yes, because she’s started working full-time and hasn’t had as much time to incorporate fitness into her routine, she has indeed put on a few pounds? No! You tell her she is beautiful – and that’s because she is.
So then why is it that when you are by yourself, looking into the bathroom mirror before your shower, you bombard yourself with criticisms and words of self-doubt? Why does your friend receive your kind words that bolster her self-confidence and help shine a light on her? You deserve that light too!
Now, rather than leaving your house feeling small and flawed, go out armed with these tools. Tell yourself and your barista, “You look nice today!” Pay forward that smile your barista will flash you in return for your kindness and pass it along to the teller at your bank. Text or call a friend to let them know you are thinking about them and would love to see them. Create those positive surroundings for yourself and it will become contagious. You will attract positivity towards you because self-confidence IS attractive.
Oh, and as a side note, “You look really nice today!”