The first thing you need to know is that there are a lot of factors out there in the world that have a huge impact on how you feel (your mood), how you see yourself (your self-image), what you expect to happen (good things or bad things), and how you approach things (complain about it or look for the solution).
There are so many negative influences around that shape you, you have to be aware of these and make sure you don’t let them dictate who you really are and how you see yourself. Some negative influences:
- The news on TV / Internet
- Friends that put you down
- Friends / Others that treat you badly
- Friends / Others that are always complaining about things
- Teachers / Coaches / Parents that only point out your bad points or mistakes
- Teachers / Coaches / Parents that constantly moan about things
- You complaining about things too often
- You focussing on all the things you don’t have rather than what you do have
- Your own self-talk – “I can’t do this!”, “I’m rubbish at that!”
- The way you think – “This will never work”, “I’m not good at that”
Let’s take negative people for example. It could be a friend, teacher, parent, coach, or even some bully in your class. You have no control over the things this person does but if you hear them enough you will start to believe them … so if you have a petty friend that is constantly putting you down or making you feel inferior, you have to make a decision that improves the situation for you before it starts to eat away at your self-worth. You can choose to face the person and tell them how their actions make you feel or you can remove yourself from having to be in this person’s company.
Whether you still see the person or not (sometimes things cannot be avoided – parents / teachers etc) you can decide yourself that you won’t let one person’s negative opinion of you impact how you see yourself. This is the other person’s problem – maybe they’re jealous, maybe they get a hard time from others so take it out on you, maybe they’re just having a bad day. You don’t fully know, so don’t judge. Either way, this is not your problem. Do not let their issue become your issue. You need to be the bigger person and care enough about yourself that you decide not to let this affect your mood or confidence. The only way they win is if you start believing the lies or heat of the moment comments they are saying.
Have a look at your friends, your coaches, your teachers and even your parents. How many of them are giving you praise, encouragement and support? Now, how many of them are filling your head with negative comments? You might be hearing “Terrible pass”, “Is that the best you can do?”, “Nobody likes you” … the list goes on and on.
If you listen to all these negative opinions of you and start to believe them you will stop yourself from achieving great things. You allow the throw away comments people make in the heat of the moment to form your own image of yourself. If you listen enough to what these people have to say you’ll start believing that “nobody does like you”, “that you’re not good at football” or that “you’ll never be any good at maths” … and your own reality is what you believe!
It would be easy to say just ignore these comments but I know it’s harder than that. That is why I am trying to teach you how to create a healthy self-image and positive attitude so that when these things do happen, you are in a better position to handle them and stay strong. I am explaining why you must make the right choices as to what you allow to be fed into your mind.
Now let’s look at negative inputs – TV, radio, internet etc. They are everywhere and sometimes it can seem like the world is a horrible place. The world may appear to you to be full of awful things – terrorism, murders, robberies, nasty people, greed and fear … but it only appears that way if that is what you focus on. There’s a whole other world out there if you have your eyes open to see it. Amazing things do happen all over the world every day … the media just deem all these stories as not news worthy as they have happened so many times before.
You have to be very careful what you choose to focus on, what you watch / read and talk about. The more you focus on negative things the worse you will feel and the more negative things you will find. Start expecting good things and looking for the good around you and will start to find it. If you watch the news you are watching the opposite of a highlights reel of the full world – you’re seeing all the bad things out there condensed into 30 minutes. That’s not a true reflection of the world! Watch the things that uplift you, listen to music that makes you feel happy and spend time doing things that make you smile.
You have the right to choose what you focus on. You have the right to choose what websites you visit, what TV shows you watch, what news you read. Pick the ones that make you feel good, not the ones that set you off worrying about a terrorist attack or the terrible state of the world that one particular news channel seems keen to share.
Make up your own mind, pick things that:
- Make you laugh
- Inspire you
- Interest you
- Bring a smile to your face
It really is that simple, stop focussing on the negative (because you’ll find it everywhere) and start focussing on the positive (you’ll find it everywhere too if you look for it … it’s all about your perception).
Now let’s look at self-talk. The way that you talk about yourself and the way that you talk to yourself … whether out loud or in your head. Both do the same damage. If you are constantly running yourself down, saying how bad you are at things or that you’re stupid you are programming your mind to believe that.
I have a work friend who consistently says things like “Aw well with my luck, I’ll never get that job” or “I’m so clumsy, I’m always dropping things”. If he honestly believes those things then of course he’s going to drop things or under-perform when it comes to the interview for a job.
Some people are nice to everyone else except themselves. They’ll bend over backwards to do things for other people but heaven forbid they accidently forget to do something they had planned to do, they’ll give themselves a terrible time or negative talk like “I’m such a stupid idiot”, “I’m so thick”, or “I forget everything!”. For people that do this, it’s not just a one off, they do this with every mistake they make. Please don’t be one of these people.
In sport or games, if they make a mistake they don’t cut themselves some slack or focus on doing better the next time. Oh no, they belittle themselves over and over, either out loud or in their head. Repeating how badly they played or how they are bad at that kind of shot or they never do well with that play. Whatever it is, it is not building confidence. It is destroying confidence and self-belief at every turn.
That again is 100% a choice. You can choose to be hard on yourself and destroy your own confidence … or you can pick out the good parts of your performance, pat yourself on the back for those and merely note the areas that you need to improve on. Celebrate the good and learn from the bad. Most importantly ALLOW yourself to make mistakes, it is the only way to learn.
For part 2 – How to BUILD A positive attitude / mood (Part 2 – Good Inputs) – click here
Final part, How to BUILD a positive attitude / mood (Part 3 – finding good all around) coming soon