Keep A Positive Reminder File:
Do you find that it is difficult to focus on the positive things in life?
I've heard it said before that for every negative thing that is said to you about you it takes about 11 more positive statements after that just to cancel out that one negative statement. I mean think about that. Have you ever done something (perhaps a job, task, speech) and immediately after you focused only on the negative parts. You could have “hit it out the park” so to speak, but still you overlooked it as if it wasn’t a big deal. I believe that our human minds are conditioned to focus on the negative. And it’s because of this that we have negative feelings, we worry and usually fear the future.
Working as a counselor and helping people who struggle with addiction and self esteem issues I’ve discovered something very fascinating. When asked to tell me something positive about themselves and something that they can work on clients usually have very similar responses to these questions. Oftentimes people will have maybe 1 or 2 things to say good about themselves. But an endless list of stuff that’s wrong with them. After speaking with them for a while we discover that they actually do have great qualities and gifts. In fact they actually got through the very problem they came to see me for at least once in their life.
What were some positive moments in your life?
I want you to think about all of the things that you went through and came out of. Write down your qualities! Things you've done for others or kind things that have been said to you. I remember when I was doing my internship many years ago. I had a supervisor who made a comment on his evaluation of me as a counselor. And although I did individual counseling I also did live workshops for the university that I was interning for. At the end of the semester you would get evaluated and see which areas were good and which needed improvement. Well, I got my evaluation and here’s what it said in the additional comments regarding my performance. “Beau has grown considerably since starting his internship at UNOCS. He is a very hard worker and has been consistently receptive to feedback and supervisory guidance. He is a delight to have here. Insofar as this is not addressed elsewhere in his evaluation, I would also like to add that Beau is a skilled public speaker who, in the words of other staff, is a natural and has a gift. His workshop this semester was exceptionally, well researched, well-prepared and skillfully presented.”
You know the first time I read that I got very emotional. Someone saw something in me that I couldn’t see in myself. I also felt that it confirmed my passion to speak and inspire others. Any time I want to give up on my dream or get discouraged I always pull this out and it reminds me of what I need to be focusing on. I also have many other positive reminder files that I can read that keep me focused and on track. Believe it or not you have these files as well. In fact you have both positive and negative files. Unfortunately it seems easy for most of us to retrieve the negative files than it is to get the positive ones.
Today’s Action Step:
For today's action step I want you to get a folder and literally make a positive reminder file. Perhaps you have old pictures or letters that others have written to you. Or maybe you have an evaluation that someone gave you that pointed out a positive quality (kind of like what I just shared with you). You can also make a list of achievements that you have accomplished in your life that got you where you are today. Anytime you're feeling discouraged or down, pull this file out and review it. It's amazing what focusing on our achievements and triumphs can do for us mentally and spiritually.