“I went from negative to positive and it’s all good.” — The Notorious B.I.G.
Being a parent of Black children gives us many opportunities to be negative about. Parents of Black children face fears of the children getting shot by police, incarceration, poor health and other things that plague the community of African American people. I once took in all these problems and took the negative route. No matter what the problem was I felt that it was caused by someone else, I was a victim and that I had little control over my life.
I had to take on a positive mindset. It did not happen overnight. I did not wake up one day and I think my glass was half full. These are the ways that you can adopt a positive mindset. It will take work and you will find many of your friends, coworkers and family members looking at you strange but you must press on. Being positive will improve how your feel, look and live.
Write Down Your Goals
Writing down your goals will keep you in a positive mood. Many times I used to think negatively when something did not go the way I planned it. But I was not writing down my goals. When you write down your goals, you can simply edit what you had planned and keep pushing forward. Writing down your goals also lets you move on to something else on the goal list and minimizes the time you are going to spend on the past not going as you predicted. For instance if your goals for the day were to register your child for a summer class but your check was less than you thought so you did not have the money to pay for it, move on the next goal. Getting yourself down does nothing to solve your problems.
Look at Others Struggling
It is cliche. It has been rehashed millions of times but it is still true that there is always someone doing worse off than you are. You should not dwell on this but it needs to be acknowledged. I warn people not to dwell on it because the extreme is the idea that you can get by in life barely doing anything because there is always somebody doing worse. This is not meant to let someone making $6 an house be joyful because someone else is making $5.90. What I mean by acknowledging everyone’s struggle is that you have something to be thankful for. Maybe your son did not get a scholarship to a prestigious school but his grades were still good enough to get into a state school. Think of all the parents that wish their children were even college material. Perhaps your child needs braces and the bill is sky high, think about all the parents who have children with cancer who wish their biggest problem was a braces bill.
Count the Great Things
If you are always seeing the bad things in life, start counting the great things. Black parents are bombarded with terrible news. Low paying jobs, low high school graduation rates, high crime and other issues can bring some people down. But what about the great things in life. If you have good health, that is something to be grateful about. Be grateful if you car started today or even if the bus came on time. All of these things may seem comical to be thankful for at first but they are valid things to be gracious for. If the car did not start or the bus was late, then most people would be upset.
Keep Away From Negative People
Sadly, we all know negative people. The great thing is most of them we can easily get rid of or avoid. At work when you run into negativity just comment as little as possible. If people are talking about another coworker or a boss, do not offer your opinion. If the person is complaining about the job and you can tell they are complaining just to complain and really do not want a change, then do not engage in the conversation. If you are in the break room with negative people during your lunch, take lunch somewhere else. If this is not an option, pop in your headphones and listen to something other than the negative naysayers that you work with. If you friends are the culprit, then distance yourself from them. This does not mean you cannot hang out them but it does mean that you do not have to spend most of leisure with people who think the world is a terrible place. If your spouse is a negative thinker than work with him or her. This is not grounds for divorce. It may be a start for counseling, however.
Watch and Listen to Positive Thoughts
Positive thoughts can mean many different things to different people. Maye you love hearing your local preacher and that might be an outlet for you. Gospel music may be uplifting to other people. Whatever makes you smile and makes you think about doing better in life is what you need to be listening to. There are thousands of motivational speeches on YouTube that you can watch for free. I personally listen to podcasts when I am driving. It was a sacrifice at first. I love music. Many of my friends are local DJs who are on the radio and I enjoy listening to them. But I also realized I had to work on my mindset and I wanted to improve my life. Cut out the negativity. For me, it was skipping most news shows. Most of the news is highlighting the bad things going on in the community, economy or road system. Hearing a newscast talk about a rapist or bank fraud does not make me feel better as a person.
It will not happen in a week, maybe it will take you a while. The key to remember is that nothing positive will come from a negative mindset. Positivity does not mean that you should be cynical and think I should jump off a cliff and think positive and there will be a magical parachute that will appear on my back. Positivity is about being thankful for life so you would not even be jumping off that cliff in the first place.