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5 Steps To Build A Positive Thinking You’ll Be Proud Of

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5 Steps To Build A Positive Thinking You’ll Be Proud Of

When it comes to your health and well-being, the thoughts you think are just as powerful as the food you eat and the exercise you get.  Your mind is a powerful force with a profound influence on the way you experience life.  It was once thought that eating a healthy diet and getting appropriate exercise was enough to ward off illness and maintain one’s health; however, research has consistently proven that your positive thoughts play a huge role in your well-being. We’ve all been given the advice to ‘think positive’ and ‘look on the bright side’, and for good reason; when practiced regularly, we become more resilient to stress and the negative thought patterns that can develop.

Negative thoughts are emotionally and physically draining, and they often lead to judging others or ourselves.  Negative thoughts close us off to the people and possibilities around us and limit our experiences .  They can also be self-perpetuating; once a negative thought patterns begin, it takes some work to reverse those patterns.  Positive thoughts, on the other hand, can leave you much more open.  From that place it’s easy to embrace all of the potential joy and happiness your experiences have to offer.  And when positive thinking is part of your daily living and becomes a habit, you begin to build a skill set of of abilities and emotional resources that you can use later in life.  For example, you may develop the ability to communicate more effectively, to experience and explore the world around you differently, to empathize with others, or to express yourself more effectively.  These skills will broaden your sense of possibilities and options in any situation allowing you to experience the world in a more positive way, which will help you in having more positive thoughts.

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Here are 5 things you can do right now to make the shift to positive thinking you’ll be proud of.

1)  There are lessons everywhere.

When you are in the middle of a negative experience, it is easy to look at the damaging way it’s impacting your life.  It is easy to dwell on the many ways you are being inconvenience or even hurt by the circumstances.  It’s human nature to look at things that way‒at least, initially.  Re-frame your thoughts around the situation by looking at the lessons and opportunities the situation has to offer. Every situation has the preverbal sliver lining; sometimes we just have look for it.  While in the throes of the situation ask yourself “what am I supposed to learn from this situation? and “how can I grow personally as a result of this?”  Some of the biggest lessons come from the most difficult situations; and although we may not see them until much later on, navigating the situation will be easier when you approach it as an opportunity too learn.

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2)  Let go of the need for perfection.

When we set the standards for ourself or others in our lives at a very high level, it is easy to miss the mark.  Judgement is the natural outcome of failing to achieve the standard you’ve set, and judgement is almost always negative.  By letting go of the need for perfection in yourself and others, you allow yourself further opportunity for joy and satisfaction, as well as thoughts that bring about positive feelings toward yourself, your environment and the people in it.

3)  Be present.

In our multi-sensory, information-driven world, it is very easy to be distracted.  In reality, the brain is designed to attend to (or do) one thing at a time, to do that one thing efficiently and then move on to the next task.  When you can train your brain and nervous system to shut out all of the distractions and focus on the task at hand, you begin to experience life very differently.  Being present with whatever situation you find yourself in is truly a gift to not only yourself, but anyone else involved in that moment with you.  If you find this difficult to do initially, remind yourself of what you are there to do and gently pull yourself back into the moment.  Over time, this mode of being will become very natural to you, and as your nervous system relaxes, you will make more room for a deeper presence in your life.

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4)  Be grateful.

When people think about the many blessings in their lives, their thoughts automatically change to positive ones.  End each day by expressing your gratitude for the things, people, circumstances, or situations, from your day that you were grateful about.  They don’t have to be grand; often the simplest things have the greatest meaning.  Recently I was grateful that a young man held a door open for me as I struggled to carry grocery bags.  His thoughtful action put a smile on my face that lasted well into the day and left me with a feeling of having to pay his generosity forward to someone else in need.

5)  Focus on what you want more of.

What you focus on grows.  By focusing on the positive things in your life, you will get more positive things in your life.  When you focus on negative things, well, more negative things are likely to arise. Ask yourself what you would like more of.  Create opportunities to have more of those things and the things you want less of will naturally, and over time, fall by the wayside.

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Positive thinking becomes a way of being when practiced daily.  It also becomes a way to open your heart and mind to the amazing possibilities of life that will build your happiness, resilience and joy.

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Last Updated on November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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