BY JULIE CHIPMAN, LCSW SOCIAL WORKER, FAMILY SERVICES OF THE CHAUTAUQUA REGION
For some people the ability to think positively requires very little effort. Each day is a new opportunity to do great things, conquer challenges and to celebrate being alive! Their optimism fills them with thoughts of confidence, motivation to get things done, and the ability to think creatively. Their internal thoughts are self-supportive, and they look on the bright side. They have a view of themselves as masters of their own fate.
But for some people life is a completely different picture. Their outlook on life is pessimistic, and they have adopted a pattern of expecting the worst, and seeing only the negative side of a situation. They often view themselves as victims of fate. Their internal thoughts can be full of self-criticism and feelings of powerlessness to make any positive changes in their lives. They may project blame onto external factors (other people, events, bad luck, etc.) for their misfortunes. It becomes a pattern of thinking that seems impossible to change.
These opposite personality styles are presented as an illustration of extremes of positive and negative thinking patterns and attitudes. Most people probably fall somewhere in between or have varying patterns, depending on circumstances. But if you are a person who would like to think more positively and see that your negativity is making your life difficult, there is hope. You can learn to change your outlook. This attitude adjustment requires being mindful of your thoughts, purposefully editing out any negativity and replacing it with more realistic and positive thinking.