No one wants to hear you preach to them about how to improve their lives or better themselves, even if it’s painfully obvious. They may moan about a problem or complain about their circumstances and yet not lift a finger to change it. Talking about it and telling these things to their faces will rarely achieve the results you desire. And yet here I am on this very topic.
I’m sure we have all met people that exude a negative vibe in the way they act and speak, and I cannot deny that I myself have been guilty of being negative and discouraging towards others. We all do it, at some point or other, depending on our mood or place in life. The turning point is when you acknowledge it; the best part is when you do something about it.
So what can we do about it? Actions speak louder than words, right? If telling someone doesn’t make a difference, then how can we make a change in the people around us? Easy, start with yourself. The one and only person whose thoughts and actions you can control is you.
Look inwards, study your inner thoughts; observe your outer actions, and then look outwards. Think of your family and friends. How do you think you make others feel? If you were to observe yourself interacting with your friends from a third person perspective, how would you feel about the things you are saying and doing? You don’t have to be an expert in body language to gauge how those around you react and respond to what you say and do.
And now ask yourself: do I need to change? If you find you are the one bringing up the complaints in a group setting, or dousing cold water on the things your friends are chatting about, then how do you think that makes them feel? Because at the end of the day, that is how you will be remembered.
Mentalities are by no means a simple thing to change. They are basically a habit of the mind, a way your brain is used to thinking. To change it requires practice and repeated adjustments. Here are some things to try if you feel like changing something:
- Start by thinking more about others. Put others ahead of yourself on the daily priority list; think about their thoughts, their feelings, their well-being. I’m not saying neglect your own needs and wants, but merely turn your focus to other people rather than looking at your own issues and problems all the time. For example, if you need to stop by the supermarket, ask others if there is anything you can pick up for them. By making the people that you interact with happy, you will naturally feel happy yourself.
- Try to include more people in the things you do. Look out for those friends or colleagues who are easily excluded. I’m sure you can recall the elation you felt when someone invited you to an event that you were interested in, so why not pass the favour on? If you are an introvert that prefers minimal social contact (trust me, I can relate), there are still many ways to reach out to others, like adding them into a group chat on social media or simply asking someone else to tag along when you go to get lunch.
- Be thankful. A little gratitude goes a long way. It helps you focus on what you have instead of what you don’t have. All part of being happier and more content with your lot in life. Of course you still strive for bigger and better things in life, just try not to lose sight of all those wonderful things you already have (like your spouse).
I admit I’m no expert in matters of the heart and mind, but if there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that we can only truly change ourselves. Change comes from within: you have to change your thoughts and your actions will follow suit. Your actions may then go on to inspire others to change. Be the change in your world, if no one else will. In the end, hopefully the world will be that much better because you made the effort. So thank you, and live long and prosper. Oh wait, that wasn’t Gandhi.