Once in a while I get tired of my usual appearance and think of new styles to try. As I flip through magazines or surf TV channels, I excitedly picture the new “me.” A new look that becomes me always fetches raves from friends and family members so that I feel good on the inside as well. I realize that I have the ability of transforming myself physically just by thinking and wanting change.
While I managed to carry my self well with the appropriate cosmetics, a suitable hairstyle and flattering clothes, I admit that I was deficient in the personality department and was no Miss Congeniality. As vice president for the company’s Legal Services and Human Resources Division, I adopted a strict attitude at work. Finding fault in everything was my forté. An internal memo that was meant for my eyes only always left my hands with red marks and revisions as though it had gone through an editor. Because my job entailed hiring and firing, I was used to sending out memos informing people of their violations at work. People labeled me as someone with an “insatiable desire for perfection.” In other words, I was difficult to please and saw the bad instead of the good in anything. You could say that being negative almost became my second nature.
I assumed the role of company critic and hatchet man for 7 years. By the time I left, I was complaining of constant fatigue and exhaustion when all I did was sit on my desk for 8 to 10 hours a day. I suspected that the physical stress came from constant negativity. Worse, I hardly made any real friends during my stay because people feared my power and my sharp tongue. I could almost hear a hundred employees heaving a sigh of relief as I announced my decision to downshift and retire from office. But what they did not know was how sad I was to realize that I became a negative person because of my job. Being negative did not make me rich nor did it gain me valuable friends. Being negative deprived me of making the most out of life. Fortunately, I decided to do something about it.
I turned away from negativity. I avoided friends who seemed to talk for hours about every negative event of their lives. I quickly changed topics whenever someone close to me would gripe about someone at work or at home. I bit my tongue when I felt like lashing out at someone even as I felt that the other person deserved a piece of my mind. Every time something warranted a negative comment, I quickly discarded the thought and searched for something nice to say.
I made positive thinking a way of life. I start each morning with a short prayer of thanks for a new day. I avoid watching movies that deal with violence or anything disheartening while I gravitate towards comedy films and videos with positive themes. I took more drastic measures in dealing with negative people. I quickly delete negative emails and text messages. Instead of responding to negative comments and statements, I ignore the remarks and turn my attention to something else. When conflict arises between two people who are close to me, I withdraw from the issue and refrain from taking sides. Furthermore, I went to the extent of assessing the status of my friendships with some people who were either a source of negativity or bad influence and avoided contact with them.
Making a conscious effort to think and stay positive has yielded results after a period of time. Those who I could not see eye to eye with in the past gradually softened up towards me and while they did not become my best friends, they no longer speak ill of me. I understand that my change of heart may not easily be accepted by my critics and the cynics who still believe that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” But I do not let their doubt or suspicion about my true motives deter me from continuing my quest for becoming a positive person. While I may not be able to gain the approval of those who I may have offended before, I gained new friends in the meantime who appreciate my presence and find me a joy to be with these days. It’s how I feel about myself that matters in the end. And I feel great with the more positive me.
Oh, and I’m sure you’ve noticed that it’s Jennifer Hudson on the cover of Instyle Magazine here…she’s one woman I admire these days for her amazing transformation from a size 16 to a svelte 6!