“Stop being so negative, you've got to be more positive!”
“Don't be so down, you’re making me feel down too”
“Just forget about it and shake it off!!”
Have you ever been told these words or maybe unconsciously have said them to others? Perhaps you have, at least once. Were they words coming from your parents? Friends? Siblings? Senpais? Or bosses? And were these words you’d said directed at your siblings? Friends? Peers? Senpais? Or subordinates?
Most probably, anyone has experienced thinking to themselves, “I have to become more positive” or “I’m not good enough by being so negative all the time” by being said such words, having accidentally said them to someone else, or even just hearing someone say it to someone.
I don't mean to say that that was wrong because everyone has kept on trying to move forward no matter how harsh, unbearable, stressful it may be. We all need praise for how far we’ve come and how enough we all are. But all I want to get through to you all is that there is a way for you to become more positive if that is what you desire: to simply become a little more caring to yourself.
To be more precise, self-care means accepting the negative side of yourself. In psychological terms, negative feelings and words such as “I'm sad, stressed, hurt, awful, bad, angry,” etc that are kept hidden inside of you are said to be best once they’re accepted. Admitting those feelings is a large step forward and a big part of mental growth. But this really isn't easy and requires a lot of perseverance, time, and courage.
But I believe that that is the division between if one can become truly uplifted and positive or not. For example, if you lock something stinky up in a jar, it’ll stay unseen and will be forgotten only temporarily. With time, they’ll slowly decay and become even more rotten; by the time you open that jar again, it may be too late to get back to its neutral state again. Mental health is the same. Hence to be positive, the first step is to truly face your negative side.
Here’s one of many to try out. Try to find a way that fits you most, and tell me if you find any other good ways!
#1 Try to verbally speak out your thoughts: “I am frustrated and angry. I feel anxious and sad.” (The parts of your brain that are used to think and speak are different, so try it!)
#2 Try to think to yourself, “These feelings and emotions are valuable and of worth.” Cuddle up those feelings. Remember that being able to feel such a range of different emotions is evidence of you living a colorful and rich life. It is what makes life beautiful and what makes us feel all kinds of emotions (not just negative ones) so strongly.
#3 Then, if you've settled down a little, try to search for what exactly is the root cause of that emotion you’ve just experienced. Try to talk it out to someone or even your cuddly toy, and write it down on paper. (Writing things down also uses a different part of your brain.) And if you can’t find the answer, the process of trying has worth and meaning, so don’t worry.
One last time:
“Cuddle your inner negativity to embrace your positivity”
This is what I believe is the way to become a little more caring to yourself when you wish to become positive.
Written by Miyabi
Translated by Marina Ogawa
Edited by Emiru Okada and Marina Ogawa
Graphic by Emily Mogami