All too often we drench our minds with negative self-talk. Telling ourselves, we’re useless, that we can’t do things, or that we can’t deal with things. It becomes second nature to doubt our ability to do something before giving it any thought whatsoever. But, do you ever focus on the positive things you can do?
I used to doubt my ability all the time. I guess I still do from time to time. After all, I am human. But I have learned what happens when you focus on the positive things you can do. It’s pretty cool.
I’ll be frank; we do not always immerse ourselves in self-love. In fact, we can be rather horrible to ourselves! Nobody criticises us as much or as harshly as we do to ourselves. Often, I hear people saying mean things to themselves - “I’m rubbish at…” “I have fat [insert body part here]” “and I hate the way I…”. Every time, I ask the person if they would say that to anyone else. Of course not! That would be so horrible! Herein lies my point.
I’m going to talk about three different types of situation when focusing on the positive things you can do make an eye-opening difference in how you live your life. Hopefully you’ll find this useful.
focus on the positive things you can do
1. The parts of yourself you don’t like
We get so caught up in criticising ourselves and focusing on the parts of ourselves we don’t like, that we forget. We forget to practice self-love or forget to focus on what we’re good at. And we forget that the things we dislike are useful parts of us that can do amazing things.
So, I’d like you to consider this: How do all the things you dislike about yourself actually serve you?
If you took the time to sit and think this through, it might surprise you!
Let me give you some of my own examples:
- I’ve never been all that keen on my legs, but they have been handy for the past 35 years. Thinking of all the things my legs have helped me do, it seems ridiculous to sit and criticise them.
- I hate the fact that I have an excessively loud voice. But I’m a public speaker, so my loud voice comes in handy and means I don’t always need a microphone, which I prefer.
These are just a few examples, but I am hoping you can see my point!
Instead of putting yourself down and being mean to yourself, change it around. You might not like the way your arms look, but what if you had no arms? Don’t they serve you well? If you don’t like your voice, what if you couldn’t talk? Focus on the positive things you can do! Maybe even make a list of these things in your happiness journal.
2. Focus on what you can do
In all my years working in schools and being a motivational speaker, I have had one key message. It is a message that I cannot stress enough:
Do not focus on what others are doing. Do not focus on what you cannot do. Focus on what you love and focus on what you are good at.
It is so essential for you to try new things and learn as much as you can. There is no point in announcing that you cannot do something if you haven’t tried. That is lazy. But if you’ve tried something and it's not your thing, move on.
Never, ever beat yourself up for the things you cannot do. But don’t keep reminding yourself. You’re using valuable energy that could better spent on things you’re freaking awesome at.
Again, allow me to offer you two of my own examples:
- It is a well-known fact that I’m pretty rubbish at maths and numbers - they are just not my thing. But I am good with words, so my focus goes on that. Also, I can use a calculator, I can use Excel, and I’m good at asking for help. So if I need to work with numbers, I do okay.
- I like wearing makeup, but if I tried doing my mascara the way other people do it I would look utterly ridiculous. So, technically, I can’t do mascara. But after years of practice, I’ve found a unique way of doing it, which means I can.
If you say you can’t do maths, focus on the positive things you can do
3. It is so big you can’t deal with it.
There will be occasions where things feel SO big that you feel like you can’t deal with it. I’m talking about a massive project that causes overwhelm. Or, maybe, something in your personal life that has pretty significant consequences. I get it; it can feel like you’re drowning and there is nothing you can do.
First of all, you need to remember you won’t be able to do everything at the same time. No one can. Few projects can be done in one go, and significant problems can rarely be solved immediately.
Take a step back. When you’re in the middle of something, it can literally feel like you’re surrounded by things that need your attention. If you can remove yourself from the situation, do it. Go for a walk, go for a coffee, do anything you can to get a change of scene. Even for a few minutes.
Now, consider the situation you’re in. Write every aspect of it down, if you can, and ask yourself one straightforward question:
You only need to be able to do one thing at a time. One thing turns into two, and so on. Before you know it, the project is done, or at least it is far less overwhelming.
And that, my friends, is the magic of learning to focus on the positive things you CAN do!