Positivity: A How-to Guide

I’ve been sitting on this blog post for a while. I’ve seen lot of friends posting that they want to be more positive and I’ve had a lot of friends ask me how I do it. I’ve wanted to write a blog about it but until now I don’t think I had all the write words I wanted to use. I am not even sure I have all the right words now, but I have some good ones, and everything I am going to write about is stuff I’ve changed for myself, and I’ve collected a bunch of memes/quotes and I think I have some good answers to the one main question… “How can I live a  more positive life?”

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Think about it for a second. Did whatever happen today really ruin your entire day? Or are you deciding to dwell on it all day and let it keep bringing you down? Now I know what you’re going to say, “Chrissy, I wrecked my car and I can’t get to work now.” But are you alive? Did you make it home to your family? Are there other ways for you to get to work? The answer to those are probably YES, especially the first one because you’re sitting there reading this right now and you wouldn’t be able to if you were dead. My point is, there are always things to be thankful for in a crappy situation.

Let’s look at something less dramatic though. Your boss overlooked you and gave credit to someone else who didn’t deserve it. Totally a mood ruiner right? Totally! But the whole day? Not necessarily. There are a ton of ways to fix the situation if you want to. Again, if you want to. If you want to sit there and cry about it and not do anything, you’re not going to ever make it better. But if you speak up, change the situation, calmly of course, your mood gets better, your day gets better, and you move on.

I honestly cannot remember the last full on bad day I’ve had. I have bad moments, I have shitty moments, I have down times, but I always look at the positive and turn my mood around. I let it go. I move on. This is not how it always was for me. I used to hold grudges and let things bother me and get stressed and angry. And then one day I quit. I was tired of it. I was tired of fighting with my husband over dumb shit. So I stopped. When we got into an argument I would make myself stop and think about what good it was doing. When I realized it wouldn’t do anything, I would stop and laugh. It’s hard to argue with someone when they are laughing. Eventually the arguments and bad attitudes stopped happening because I would tell myself there was nothing to be negative about. Of course this isn’t just about fighting with your spouse, this can be about anything that brings you down or gets you mad. Assess what’s happening and find the positive. Even if the only positive thing you can think of is that you are breathing. Be thankful that you are still alive to have those emotions. You are a living, breathing, person.

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You can literally tell yourself to have a better day.  You can choose to be happy and positive. Adopt the habit of starting off your day with something positive. Write yourself a love note. Smile. Do something for yourself that brings you happiness. Seek out positivity in your daily life rather than dwelling on things you don’t enjoy.

If you feel a negative thought coming, immediately switch it to something positive. Don’t start a sentence with something negative. If you have to be negative, start with that but end with something positive. Example… “I had a shitty day.” Change that to, “I had a shitty day, but now I am home with my family and looking forward to (fill in the blank).”

STOP posting negativity on social media.  I cannot stress this one enough. The moment you put something negative online, other people are going to latch onto it and help you be more negative. Misery loves company. And some people love the drama that comes with other people’s negativity. You posting something negative on social media immediately puts that energy and vibe into the universe. And not only are you putting that vibe out for yourself, you’re putting it on everyone who is reading your stuff.

If you do choose to be negative on social media, I have two things you should never post about. Don’t ever post negativity about your spouse. I see it every single day; the passive aggressive posts…

“Of course my husband would choose today to be an asshole when he got home from work.”

“It’s always so nice when my husband takes his sweet time coming home from work.”

This goes for husbands posting too but it’s usually the wives. Sorry, ladies, but it’s true. And what are you getting out of this? I’ll tell you exactly what you’re getting. You’re getting your other lady friends to hop on the husband-bashing train and now you aren’t the only one being negative. You just recruited a whole batch of other people who are going to be negative too. And then when your spouse comes home, what kind of mood are you in? What if the reason your spouse came home late was because he decided to stop at Starbucks and bring you a Trenta Hibiscus Refresher? But you don’t know this so you’re an asshole to him when he gets home and you’ve already posted all that hate and negativity all over Facebook. You can’t get that back. It’s out there.

Next, Don’t ever post negativity about your kids. I am not talking about the stories about your kids that you tell as satire to make people laugh. We all love those and we know you aren’t really going to “sell the kids on ebay or etsy.” (Have you seen that meme? I love that one). I am talking about the same passive aggressive stuff like I said above. And I am talking about stuff that you should really just keep to yourself. I’ve seen so much negative stuff about some of my friend’s kids that if you asked me about those kids, I would only be able to tell you bad things. What does that say about those parents who are posting? It just puts out more negativity into the universe and you can’t take that back. You called your kid a little shit and at least 10 people saw that before you decided to delete it. Just stop. Make it a point to only post positivity about your kids.

One other thing…so 3 things you shouldn’t do… Don’t over-share. It kind of goes with the posting about your spouse and kids. But social media doesn’t need to know EVERYTHING, especially if it’s negative.

“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”

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I cannot stress this one enough. I am not sure if I mentioned in other posts, but when I lived in Arizona I lived in a black hole of negativity. And it was so easy to get sucked in. I actually lost quite a few friends because I would choose to stay out of the drama and just stay home. I was constantly around people who would take something good and immediately turn it into something bad. The very first day I was at my brand new house, a lady drove by and said, “Oh you’re new? Welcome to Hell.” This is the kind of negative vibe I am talking about. She put that on me. I was so excited to live in a new place and she immediately put a bad taste in my mouth within the first 10 minutes of me being there. Obviously we never became friends, lol.

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Evaluate the relationships you have. Are your friends constantly negative? Do they like to bring you down? Or are you friends with people who love to have fun and smile and make you happy? It’s a hard task, trust me. When you start to really look at people in your life, sometimes it ends up that your closest friends are not the people you want to be close with anymore. Some of those people even end up being family members. But are you happier without them in your life? Yep!

 

justbreathe

I am not saying you need to learn to meditate, although it wouldn’t hurt, but take 3-5 minutes and just breathe. Lock yourself in a closet and breathe. Making yourself take a break can work wonders for your mind and change your mood. Close your eyes, don’t think about anything negative, and just breathe. Try it. For me.

If you take one thing away from this, let it be that YOU can make yourself positive. You have that power. You just need to do it.  It won’t be the easiest thing you do, but it will be the most rewarding.

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The Purge! #JTM

I know I already had a Volume 1 of the purge post but this really should have been the first one. The other one I wrote was more spontaneous while this one was more thought out.

As I mentioned, we are slowly working on our journey towards minimalism. As soon as I watched that documentary I immediately started looking around the house at things I didn’t need. The first purge was clothes.

I purge my clothes pretty often. I used to be a clothes hoarder. I would keep ALLLLLL my t-shirts from forever ago because at one point I loved them. Then I got pregnant and most of my clothes never fit me again. Purge. Then I started losing weight and clothes didn’t fit. Purge. But I would still keep a lot. WHY?!? One day I read something about cleaning out your closet and it stuck, and it’s what I ask myself whenever I clean my closet. “Weather dependent, would I put this on today and wear it?” If the answer is no, it goes. It’s really that simple. And you know what? I don’t miss any of those things I got rid of. Another rule someone mentioned that is a good one: if you buy something new, something old needs to go. It really keeps you from frivolous buying. I purge my clothes seasonally and it seems to be working for me.

But I was not the only one purging this time. My husband purged his clothes and I think he had 3 times as many bags as me. While I hoard shirts, he hoards pants. He had stacks of jeans that he never wears. Why? Because he might wear them someday. Would he put them on that day and wear them out? NO? Out they go!!

Here’s our SHARED closet after we were done. Most of our clothes are foldable and are in cube-type storage (Ikea stuff) but this is all that hangs.

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You can see my husbands current pile of pants, lol. He is rotating his clothes so only shorts are out for wearing now. I have to cut him some slack though because he needs more clothes for his job. He can’t just dump everything when he has uniforms and certain clothes for certain jobs.

Next was the craft closet. I say craft because it’s in our craft room but really it’s the “catch-all” closet. The place you put everything you don’t really have a place for. Also where you throw everything you don’t want to see. I wish I took before photos. Grrr! But still, it’s a thousand times cleaner and more organized than it was.

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That white hanging compartment was full of shoes. I think I kept one pair. I even went through all those plastic drawers and organized them. I was putting in work.

Next was the kitchen. This was the next biggest purge after the clothes as far as how much I got rid of. Why did I need 14 dinner plates when we are a family of 3? Why did I need 44,000 plastic cups? Why did I need to start collecting mugs when I only drink out of one? And why did I keep things just for the sake of keeping them? Do you have an answer because I sure don’t.

I kept our one set of 8 dishes; large plates, small plates, bowls, and mugs. I got rid of all the other dishes. If we happen to have a party or something I’ll buy paper plates. It’s really that easy. I kept about 10 mugs that meant something to me. I kept about 10 drinking glasses and a few plastic ones for the child. I went through all the plastic tumbler-type cups and matched them with their lids. No match, why do I have you!?! The biggest part of this purge was getting rid of glasses and cups we NEVER EVER use. The ones you get when you buy the special drink at a restaurant but you never use the cup again. The flasks that were a fun gift because they had a mustache on them but have never been used because we don’t drink liquor from a flask, lol. All gone!! And now I have empty shelves. WHOA!

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I also went through the drawers. Why was I hoarding steak knives when we only use the 4 new ones?

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The top left photo is all the silverware that WAS mixed in in the drawer. I had wayyyy too much. The photo on the right of the drawers is great because previously you could not see the bottom of either of those drawers.

So what did I do with all the other dishes and stuff? Well, I’ll tell you. A lot I put in that huge pile for a yard sale. And some of it I wrapped up nicely and put in boxes for my daughter when she moves out (she’s 9 now). I had a set of China that my abuelos gave to me when I got married. It used to be our normal dishes until I bought something new. It’s a great set with dinner plates, small plates, tea cups, saucers, a platter, a huge bowl, tea pot, and sugar container. It’s really a perfect set of dishes that was collecting dust in my cabinet. So that will be given to my daughter. Basically, my daughter’s kitchen will be fully equipped. She will have all the dishes, glasses, mugs, and utensils. But only the things she will use. And the cool part is that they will all mean something to her. The mugs I chose to give her, rather than sell, are all from places she’s been as well. And if she decides she doesn’t want all that stuff at some point, it will be hers to decide.

Not pictured but another big purge was our movies. Sure we love movies, especially without cable, but there were so many we never watch and probably won’t ever again. I have a giant black garbage bag full of movies to sell. Also not pictured, on Easter my daughter and I purged her room. She’s really good at it. She is a small time hoarder of things “she might play with later” but she still understands and is willing to part with a lot.

I think the craziest part so far is seeing how much shit we had upstairs with us that wasn’t bringing any meaning to our life. I’ll show you this photo again…

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ALL of this stuff for the yard sale was upstairs. I can’t. I don’t even get it.

So now the storage purge continues. After my last post we stopped going through everything because we were headed to a friend’s house, but we emptied 4 boxes. We have a pile set aside to keep, a pile to burn/toss, and then we’ll add to the yard sale pile. It’s a good time going through the stuff because I do keep some really cool things that mean things to my husband even though he had no idea they did. I kept a box full of the letters he received when he was in basic training and overseas. He didn’t know they were still around and he really enjoyed reading some, especially the ones from family members who have passed away. So really it always comes down to that question…”Does this bring me happiness?” Sometimes you find things that truly do make you happy and those are the thing we won’t ever get rid of. But if we have no connection to items anymore, out they go.

Why Minimalism? #JTM

Not related to this blog, but today is my 6 year anniversary of signing up with WordPress and creating this blog! HEYO!! Okay, done celebrating, onto business.

Just like the title, why minimalism? Why would my husband and I decide this was something we wanted to work towards? Like I’ve said in previous blogs about myself and us as a couple, I think so much of what we are working towards today was always buried somewhere inside us. We have only now been given the tools to really embrace the lifestyle we ultimately want. So why do we want to dump everything in our house and move into a tiny house in the middle of no where and live like weirdos? Well, we aren’t quite there yet. And I don’t know if we’ll ever actually be at that point. But we are well on our way to downsizing and living happier with less stuff.

About a month ago we watched “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things” on Netflix. Man, was it eye opening. It was one of those movies that makes you question everything you’re doing in your life. When I was finished watching the movie, I literally sat and looked around the room taking inventory of all the things I didn’t need. And it isn’t just about not needing things. It’s about not needing things because they don’t bring any value to my life.

I’ve mentioned before that we grew up in the gigantic city of San Diego, where “stuff” is important. I’m not saying that we were super spoiled assholes, but we grew up with a decent amount of stuff. And once we were on our own we were definitely in that mindset that the more stuff we had the better off we were. TV’s in each room, kitchen gadgets, and a new stereo, not because ours was broken but because we wanted one. There’s only thing that lead to, and it wasn’t happiness. It was debt.

Over the years we have been making a lot of changes. First we dumped cable. Then we didn’t unpack the TV for our bedroom. Do you know how nice it is not to have a TV in your bedroom? We also stopped frivolous purchases. We stopped going shopping for the sake of buying something because we were bored. Most of the time we didn’t have money to spend anyway, but we thought buying something new would make us happier. We’ve started to learn how to live off the land. Of course we still go grocery shopping and buy food, but we have chickens so we don’t buy eggs, and we have a super awesome garden started so we will be buying less produce. It’s all part of living happier and living within our means. Oh, did I mention we are also credit card debt free? Yeah, that’s huge.

I am not going to go into all of it just yet, but the next couple posts will be about the purging stage. Dumping the stuff that doesn’t have any meaning to me anymore. The purge is strong! And it feels sooooooo good!!

The Journey Towards Minimalism #JTM

Hey all. I’m starting a new hashtag for future posts.  #JTM will follow any posts I write about my family’s Journey Towards minimalism. First post starts tomorrow. I’ll add these posts to a new page as well.

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