I start looking inwards. It's so easy when life gets busy and I'm juggling too much, to start noticing the problems around me, or the negative aspects of a family or colleague's personality. It's also really easy to start seeing the negatives in my own character, because I have front row seats to my success (or lack of it).
I've always thought of myself as a positive and optimistic person, but I've noticed that as challenges build up or I get tired, I can start to be negative about what I haven't got done, or what other people are doing (which impedes my progress). Sometimes these comments are just in my head, and sometimes I say them out loud. More often then not, I'm saying them to the family that I love.
There are so many things that I am still working on getting right, things that I look around and think other people have a real handle on (those normal things like arriving on time, handing stuff in on time, returning DVDs on time). I often wonder how I could possibly be negative about someone else. There is a great Bible verse about our need to stop looking at the speck in someone else's eye, when there is a plank in your own eye (Mathew 7:3). It's a good reminder about having perspective.
But I still need a way of dealing with the things that are consuming my mind-space, things I'm listing each day that are not complete or done to my satisfaction. So I make a habit of stopping and listening to the internal conversations going on in my head. I'm often surprised at how negative they can be. There is a difference between being honest about what needs to be done, and only focusing on the negative.
We all need to take a look at our internal self-talk and remind ourselves of our current brilliance and our future potential, on a daily basis. Are you embracing the positive in you?
Embracing the good things in the people around us, while not overlooking responsibility for tasks that need to get done (like returning DVDs - I really hope that isn't my job) is an important part of having a good day. Separating tasks from personal value, and remembering what makes an individual brilliant (and telling them often) has benefits for us and the person hearing our message. It lightens up our day, and brings balance to our interactions - One more step towards reducing stress and freeing up our mind-space.