For some people, radiating positivity comes as naturally as breathing. People are drawn to these positive influences like a moth to a lampost at night. I mean, how could you not be? Their comforting good vibes make us feel happy and warm. It is completely natural to be magnetically drawn to those that emanate unconditional love and happiness.
That’s what positivity is, right? Unconditional love. Pure joy. Optimism. Generosity. Kindness. Tolerance. When I think of what being a positive person entails, I think of someone who:
- Listens to truly hear what someone is saying, not listening for the sake of replying.
- Looks on the bright side of an ugly story and tries to find the silver lining.
- Is non-confrontational or argumentative.
- Tries to be optimistic, no matter what life throws at them.
- Tries to be kind to everyone.
- Shows generosity with not only material possessions but also with their time and attention.
- Is tolerant of all personalities, knowing that it is not up to them to change anyone because their life or values do not match their own.
- Has no ulterior motives, just wants to spread love and happiness while expecting nothing in return.
8 Ways You Can Emanate Positivity with Shutting People Down
1. Listen to Hear, Not to Reply
Being a positive influence to those around you can be as simple as listening. Lending your ear to their worries and their problems and just being there for them. Unless someone asks you specifically for advice then you should keep your advice to yourself. Most of the time that is all that people want. Someone to listen to them.
Think of how many times you have called up a confidant to vent about the latest craziness that has happened in your life, only to be met with unwarranted advice that left you feeling even worse than before you called. They didn’t even listen to all of the details, have never been in your particular predicament, and the advice that they gave you doesn’t even make any sense. It sucks. And I can guarantee that it left you feeling like you never want to share your vulnerabilities with that person ever again.
Even if you absolutely think that they need to hear what you have to say, you should ask first. Simply saying “I am really sorry that you are going through this right now. Would you like my advice, or did you just need to get it off your chest? Either way, just know that I am here for you whenever you need me.” Nine times out of ten, they really just wanted to vent and have a friend listen and be on their side.
2. Look on the Bright Side
Positive people tend to take ugly situations and see the light that shines through. Look for the silver lining, or the lesson to be learned. I’m not saying that there is always one to be found, but looking for anything positive that you can take from any given situation is a wonderful habit to form.
This makes me think of a story that Mr. Rogers once shared. Whenever something horrific happens, it is always so easy to get lost in the grief and sadness over those that are hurt. Even in a gruesome situation, such as a mass shooting (easy example to think of, given recent times in this country) look for the helpers. Look for those that are giving everything that they have to help those who need it.
That is positivity. That is hope.
3. Try to Avoid Being Confrontational or Argumentative
Positive influences are inherently nonconfrontational. Not a single person would choose to be around someone that wants to pick fights over stupid, petty reasons. No one likes to feel like they annoy the people around them. Having someone pick you apart feels absolutely horrible. It is not our place to tell others how to live their lives – unless they specifically ask for advice.
Don’t get me wrong. Some battles are worth fighting. You can’t just sit back and let people run all over you. But not all battles are worth it. Sometimes it is better to say nothing than to egg it on.
For instance, getting into political arguments with family members. There is nothing that you can possibly say that will ever convince someone that their political opinions are wrong. It is what it is, as completely irrational as they may seem.
If you want to get on your soapbox and make a political stand, go for it. In the proper setting. Hanging out with friends and family members at a barbecue is not the place to do that.
4. Choose to be Optimistic
Have you ever hung out with overly pessimistic people? It is exhausting. These people can see no good outcome for any possible situation. How disheartening!
It is so easy to fall into pessimism, especially when we are surrounded by pain and suffering with all of the horrible events taking place in this world.
The thing is, negativity creates more of the same negativity. Positivity creates more of the same positivity. It is as simple as that. Every day you have a choice which route you want to take.
The events that take place in our lives are not what define us, but rather how we deal with them and look toward our future. You absolutely have the power to shape your future in any way you like. The obvious choice is to make the best of it and try to remain optimistic that everything is going to be wonderful. You never know, it just might be better than wonderful.
5. Be Kind
Kindness is defined as the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.
- Did someone bump into you? You can either get irritated, scowl, and huff at them, or you can choose kindness, smile, and say “Oops! Pardon me!” (yes, even if it wasn’t your fault)
- Is your friend super late for your lunch date? You can either chastise her, making her feel even worse than she probably already does, or you can order her a drink and/or an appetizer to share to be waiting for her when she gets there. In a rush? Give her a call and see if she wants you to go ahead and order for her. Everyone makes mistakes.
- What if a stranger makes eye contact with you while walking down the sidewalk? Simply smiling and saying “how are you today?” can put a smile on their face and leave them feeling warm and happy.
These are just a few examples, but it really is simple. Choose kindness.
6. Be Generous
Generosity is a quality that’s a lot like unselfishness. Someone showing generosity is happy to give time, money, food, or kindness to people in need. Generosity is a quality — like honesty and patience — that we all probably wish we had more of.
Even if you don’t have a dime to spare, sometimes just being generous with your time and being there for someone is even better. Sharing with others what you are capable of sharing will, in turn, bring those same blessings of generosity back to you. What we put out into the world, we receive in return.
7. Show Tolerance
This is a big one. Everyone is different. We can’t all be the same, nor should we want to be the same as anyone else. So, why should you try to hold everyone to impossible standards?
I know someone who insists that they are a positive person who tries to be uplifting. In the next breath, they are chastising someone for not being positive enough. Or for making an annoyed face during conversation. Which, in turn, causes the irritable person to become even more irritable, and not a single darn thing was accomplished.
That’s not how it works.
Maybe that is just how that person is. That’s their personality. They are a bit irritable, tend to make faces, and complain a lot. If you truly want to be a positive influence, show that person tolerance for who they are right now in this moment, and show them with your actions how much of a positive influence you can be. Eventually, the more you are around this irritable person, the more they will start to imitate your positive behavior.
What you put out, is what you receive.
8. Expect Nothing in Return
In doing all of this to be a more positive influence, the most important part is that you do it out of unconditional love and expect absolutely nothing in return. Practicing positivity is something that you should do to enrich your own life and the lives of those around you because it makes you feel good to surround yourself with positivity.
Having expectations of receiving the same in return can sometimes just set you up for disappointment. Let’s face it, there is a lot of negativity out there. Show tolerance for the negativity and just keep going about your happy little way.