“If you have one argument in a day it’s 50/50, if you have more than one you should look in a mirror.” As I thought about that expression it made me think about myself. What if it didn’t only apply to other people in your life? What if that applied to your own mindset as well? What if in the moments where we are at our darkest, angriest, lowest of the low we challenge ourselves to do the opposite? To think outside ourselves, about how our actions in that moment could impact those around us. To look for the good and then to act as the good, the positive, to inspire positivity. Not just in ourselves, but in those around us.
I wondered: What if I spent the next few minutes waiting for the train reframing the narrative of my morning? Reframing and retelling the story of what happened not as a series of negative, unrelated instances that occurred, but rather looking for the positive moments instead. That morning, on the dirty, disgusting subway platform, standing with ripped tights and God-only-knows-what on my hands, I waited for the train and did just that. I focused on the extra kiss and hug from my surprised little Eloise when we forgot Henry’s backpack, the first walk to the subway where Beatrice and Henry were trying to catch snowflakes on their tongues, the fact that my legs were healthy and strong enough to run for the train—even if that hadn’t yielded the desired results, and that I had a job I loved. I reframed my day in gratitude and positivity for the things that I had that allowed me to run for that train and I thought about how I could use this story to make everyone laugh. To make them feel better about their morning instead of ruining the day of everyone around me. During this moment of quiet introspection, I realized that this story could be my day zero of turning my life around and truly harnessing the power of positive thinking. I have had a positive outlook in my life, but never, until that day, did I think about what I could do to change the entire course of my day—and the day of everyone around me.
We harness our power when we are confident enough to understand that we have control over every aspect of ourselves. Not the situations around us or the things that happen to us, but our reaction to the hard times, the difficult moments, the things that seem unfair.
The next time you find yourself in a situation where things seem to be piling on, use the opportunity to pause and claim your confidence. Stop dwelling in the negative and actively seek out the positive in whatever has occurred. Stop thinking about yourself. Stop thinking about you as the center of your universe of one. Look outward instead of inward. Focus your energy on others, not on yourself. The way in which you approach problems, issues, situations with a positive mindset isn’t just for you. Will it help you succeed, will it bring people to you because of your positive attitude, will you feel better because of it? Yes. But the power of positivity doesn’t just change the day for you, it changes the day for everyone around you.
In the same way that negativity is powerful, positivity is infectious. So empower yourself to spread that positivity around starting today. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I want you to give power to positivity in your life. Over the next week, find three moments where you feel a negative emotion—someone said something unkind, you didn’t get something you wanted, or even something simpler, that your coffee is taking a long time to make in a busy coffee shop. Embrace it, let it ruminate—annoyance, anger, irritation—really feel it. And then pause, take a deep breath, and think about what you can do to change that emotion and power your positivity.
The only person who has to know you are making this internal shift is you. If you can’t power your positivity every single time, don’t worry. You will have plenty of chances to practice all day, every day. So start small. The next time you are in a long line that feels like water torture, when you feel your blood pressure starting to rise, do the following: wait until you reach the person who is checking everyone out and then look them straight in the eye, flash them a big smile, and say thank you like you mean it, with flourish! “THANK YOU!,” you will exclaim with a huge smile. “I HOPE YOU ARE HAVING A GREAT DAY!” Try it with someone who is making your morning cup of coffee, your waiter at a restaurant, or someone who is getting eye rolls from everyone as they try to do their job. Think about how many people stare at their phones without engaging with the world around them or look up quickly only to show annoyance at the extra minute it takes for someone to do their job. Then watch how looking someone straight in the eyes and thanking them with a confident smile is mirrored back to you. How it reflects in the way that they engage and interact with the next person they greet or engage with in a day. By giving yourself the power to understand that your actions can affect everyone around you, you start to understand the most important thing about confidence. Confidence comes with ownership, from owning your words, your actions, and their impact on others. From knowing that every action you make has a ripple effect on your day and the day of everyone around you. It all starts with you, and that all starts within.
Excerpted from Lydia Fenet’s CLAIM YOUR CONFIDENCE, published by Gallery Books, a division of Simon & Schuster