This weekend I helped my daughter book a short hotel break in Amsterdam for her birthday. We looked at all the usual websites and each time we thought we had found the perfect place to stay, we discovered something wrong with it. The rooms were too small, you had to pay extra for the use of the pool, the hotel was a long way from the city centre etc etc..
It made me realise how often we see the down side of things. It is really easy to criticise rather than dwelling on the positive.
I once worked in a college where the whole culture was one of being negative and people spent the day grumbling and moaning about what was wrong. One woman I worked with spent a lot of the time complaining about her job and working conditions, but when it was suggested kindly that she could use her many talents to find another job which might suit her better, she always raised objections to why that wouldn’t be possible. Actually she had already been in her current job over fifteen years and it was unlikely she would ever find the energy or motivation to leave!
Being around negative people can sap our energy levels and darken out mood whereas well- motivated, enthusiastic people are inspirational and make us feel uplifted. But how can we stay positive regardless of those around us?
One way is to try to resist the temptation to moan and to count our blessings and identify what we are grateful for, appreciating the small things in life -a smile from a neighbour, doing a small favour for a colleague, sitting in the sunshine, the smell of freshly ground coffee, seeing flowers in a garden… It doesn’t have to be anything huge-or expensive- and it only requires a change of perspective.
In yogic philosophy this is known as santosa or contentment
The more we start to notice the good things in life, the more we find. This gives us a youthful outlook on life which psychologically makes us feel better about ourselves and increases our confidence and optimism, so we feel we can tackle anything!