Wake up from your self-limiting thought to self-releasing vertical thought, and you will experience the ceaseless flow of your own good. —Eric Butterworth
One of the most important things we teach the students in our school district is to choose the way they view the world. By equipping them with the tools to choose nourishing perspectives, inclusive views, and empowering ideas, we are setting them up for the ultimate success. Students who reflect on what is going on around them, rather than just react, are better able to choose what they want from their lives. By stepping back and choosing the lens they view the world through, their potential for happiness and success is limitless.
I worked with one young man who was always planning for fights. He talked openly about how this student or that student was out to get him. He would also replay any slight he might have felt from one of his peers. He both complained about, and took pride in, how unfairly the other kids treated him. He had carved an identity out of being a victim of the world, while at the same time he was putting other students down for their behavior. While he got a certain high from the attention he received, it was always short-lived. Underneath it all, he felt insecure and did not have anyone he could trust as a friend.
We worked to help him see that his negative perspective had become a self-fulfilling prophecy. He was constantly making new enemies because of how much time he spent focused on the worst in the people around him. With encouragement, he started sharing his sincere interests and authentic points of view with his peers. As a result, he started making friends with people who liked him for who he was. It became an ongoing practice of letting go of his old, negative mental habits and choosing to see the positives that were happening all around him.
In the beginning, he did not realize that he could choose the story he was telling. Like many of us, his worldview was happening on an unconscious level, formed by his parents, the people he hung around with, and the shows he watched on television. Without investigation, his worldview felt as if it was the only way to look at things, and that it was “just the way things are.”
The great news is that he did have a choice and so do we. By slowing down and reflecting on what we believe, we can open up to new possibilities and ways of seeing the world. If we have been weighed down by negativity and doubt, we can turn over a new leaf and let the good times roll. If we already have a positive mindset, we can magnify and appreciate the good even more. Discovering what we believe, and tailoring those beliefs to be truly supportive of who we are, is a valuable undertaking.
Perhaps you feel stuck in some negative stories. Now is the time to make a new choice. Take a moment to slow down. List the beliefs you have been holding on to that have made life feel bleak. Putting them down on paper has a way of shining light on and releasing the grip of those old ideas. Next, revise those beliefs, and write a list of positive statements about the good in your life. Enjoy imagining living life on your own inspired terms. This simple exercise will help you recognize how quick and easy it can be to change your perspective from pessimism to optimism. Soon you will find that the glass is always more full with things to appreciate than you can even imagine.