Shifting a Negative Mindset: A Personal Reflection

I just finished watching a TEDx talk video. This video resonated so clearly with me because this was me growing up. 

When I was a young adult, I was going through an old box of school work from elementary school and junior high. I had found some work I did from a pilot class in junior high that I remember very clearly, but not much else other than report cards. These report cards were a huge eye opener for me. They were eye opening because every single comment on my report cards said “negative attitude.” Upon seeing these for the first time was shocking. I never thought of myself this way. I felt strong, I felt like a survivor. I never thought of myself as being a person that was negative.

Fast forward a couple years, I was living back at home with my mom. As she and I were driving somewhere, I noticed everything that came out of her mouth was negative. That drive with my mom gave me a flash back to my report cards that I saw years earlier. It dawned on me that my negative mindset came from my mom.

Fast forward to this summer. Part of our vacation my daughter and I stayed with my mom. I knew my mom was negative, but I didn’t realize that everything that came out of her mouth was negative. Even when she was trying to give me a compliment it started out as negative. After three days with her, my daughter started picking up my mom’s negative attitude. It shocked me how quickly negative can infiltrate someone’s mind…….

I was at a drive thru window and I was noticing the teenage boys working at the drive thru window were teasing the girl collecting my money about something embarrassing that happened to her. I told her a story about how I fell flat on my face in the middle of a theatre and that my dress went all the way up over my head and my butt was facing my male friend and the concession stand people could see. By the time we pulled away, I had everyone laughing at my story and the girl said I made her day.  My embarrassing story helped her get passed hers and probably made the rest of her shift better.

Let me provide one more example of changing mindsets…..

This summer my daughter and I went on a month long trip out west. I was traveling with an 8 year old which can have it’s own set of challenges. Well, the challenges became greater. We missed our connecting flight. I was exhausted, I put in my 10,000 steps at the Chicago airport alone, but instead of getting upset or mad, or allowing my exhaustion to perpetuate negative thoughts, which would certainly affect my daughter, we turned it into something fun. Please see below video.

If I had reacted, if I had gotten upset, if I would have had my own frustrating meltdown, my 8 year old would have been just as bad and the situation would have been out of control. Instead, this became one of our most fun times in the airport. My daughter was smiling and providing suggestions and looking at the situation in a more positive frame of mind which in turn helped me to stay calm.

In the Tedtalk video the speaker says “you have to work to see the upside, it takes work, it takes effort.” So what tools can you use to work on seeing things positively?  

  • Journaling about what you are grateful for
  • Share good news with others

When you wake up in the morning, what things do you have to look forward to? How do your kids wake up in the morning. When I wake my daughter up in the morning I talk to her, then I rub her and then when I know she is awake I start threatening to tickle her and of course I start tickling her and by the time she is ready to get dressed we are both smiling and laughing. What a difference waking up like that can be for someone’s day.

How are you waking up each morning?