We’ve all heard that it’s important to have a positive attitude in life. To be upbeat and forward thinking, to see the bright side of life.
But to be honest, I have always struggled to be that way.
I would watch people who seemed to have the ability to think and act positively and I’d wonder how they did it. Most of the time, I resented their ability to be ‘so damn happy’.
Several members of my family have struggled with depression, and I figured maybe that was just part of my mental makeup to be somewhat the same. I figured I’d spend most of my life ‘fighting the good fight’ and trying to see things in a positive way.
Just a few days ago, I realized the true reason why I struggle so much to be a positive person.
It’s very embarrassing to admit, but my whole adult life, I’ve been completely focused on myself.
Each day, I think constantly about me. My main topic of focus is my needs, my life, my goals.
Here’s what I discovered: when you are focused on ‘me’ the tendency to think negatively starts to seep into you.
If you are focused on yourself, you fall into subjectivity, selfishness, over-personalizing, resentment, victim thinking and comparison-itis. You can’t help it.
You see yourself as somehow separate and isolated from the world, and that causes adversarial emotions. It breeds negativity.
The natural tendency of going inward is that you keep going deeper inward. At the core of each person’s self indulgence is a bottomless pit of unhappiness.
But what happens if you flip it over? What happens if you choose to think of other people AND yourself at the same time.
What happens if you go from ME to WE thinking?
Believe me when I say that the shift is profound.
When you focus on the world around you and view the people in it as a collective that you are a part of, you suddenly feel a sense of peace. A sense of connection and a sense of positivity.
Positivity comes from focusing outwards. Positivity comes from having a WE focus.
Positivity grows from letting go of personal needs for fulfillment or gain, and focusing on contributing in some profound way to the world.
Here’s a test for you: the next five people you walk past say hello to them. Just try it.
Notice how when you connect with them, you create a WE between the two of you. Even if it’s only for a moment, you will feel a lift. Even if they’re not particularly responsive, the emotion you feel will be a positive one.
Here’s another test for you: for the rest of today, think of everyone in the world as connected to you, as on a journey with you. Think of how you can add to their sense of well-being. Then, watch what happens to your emotions.
I have been working on shifting my focus outward for only a few days now, and the results are profound. I am noticing how much less anxiety, how much less frustration, how much less sadness I have inside me.
More than this, my tendency to go to the negative has been almost eradicated.
When you shift your focus from ME to WE, a deep sense of positivity starts to well up inside you. You see the world as a friendly place, and you feel a connection to the world and everyone in it.
Focus on the WE that you are a part of.
I promise you, you will feel the difference.
4 thoughts on “From ME to WE”
A brilliant discovery.Good for you.
Thank you Barbara!!
Embracing community is a wonderful thing Daniel. I think western culture is very much focused on the I, driven by a consumer based ethos. It is very difficult to step out from this, but once you do it is liberating. A good thought provoking post.
Totally agree Davy, and it’s something I am only just now learning to reverse my behavior around. Glad it was valuable for you too!