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We all get influenced by negativity from time to time. Someone makes us angry, we refuse to take responsibility for our lives, and constantly blame others for the way we feel and react. There are many such paths to destructive behavior.

What we need to understand is that there are also many paths to constructive behavior. Constructive behavior involves optimism, positivity, having patience and replacing the negative thoughts with their positive counterparts. Its all just a choice. Life is full of choices and thinking positively is also a choice. If we choose to take an optimistic outlook on life, the rewards are endless and we perceive life through a new enlightened frame.

Here are 3 important routes towards an optimistic or positive outlook on life:

1. Take responsibility:

The first step towards positive thinking is to take responsibility for our own lives. We need to aim our behaviors and attitudes towards positivity and constructiveness in order to point our lives in the right direction.

Taking responsibility for our actions is the first step towards Optimism (Image: Andrew R. Whalley / Flickr)

Taking responsibility charges us towards a positive outlook. When we do not take responsibility for our behaviors we give our control over to other people; people who most probably do not know us as well as we know ourselves. Take responsibility for the past, present and for what might come tomorrow. It is the first step towards being free of self doubt. As Susan M. Heathfield states, taking responsibility is “the foundation principle we must embrace if we plan for happiness and success in life and work.”

It is not hard to take responsibility for our thoughts and behaviors. We need to analyze our actions and how each specific thought is benefiting us. If it has no benefits, we can always choose to get rid of it. The responsibility we accept will no longer be a burden on us. It will help us cleanse ourselves. We are in control of our destiny.

2. Accept ourselves completely for who we are:

Accepting ourselves completely for who we are will help us gain a positive outlook on life (Image: NYC photos / Flickr)

No matter what race, nationality, or gender we are born into bottom line is, we can only be ourselves. No matter how hard we try to be someone else, the ping-pong ball always bounces back on us. We need to let go of our hurtful feelings and bring ourselves into clarity and self-awareness. Acceptance is not a hopeless position, it is the only position in which you can grow. Let us accept ourselves for everything we are as a human being, the good, the bad – everything. If we accept all of our lives, none of it will be wasted. Everything will have its own value for making us the special person we are. Only if we accept ourselves, we can love and accept the world for what it is and appreciate true beauty.

Loving oneself is the best way to accept oneself. We should not take ourselves for granted and we should be grounded in reality to accept it the way it is. No one is higher or lower than us. Let us not compare. We are beautiful as we are. Let us be good to ourselves and do the things we enjoy doing. As Leo F. Buscaglia says: “Love yourself—accept yourself—forgive yourself—and be good to yourself, because without you the rest of us are without a source of many wonderful things.”

3. Develop good habits:

“We first make our habits then our habits make us.” – John Dryden

We are what we repeatedly do. So, if we do constructive things repeatedly and train our mind to think in optimistic ways, anything is possible. Good habits take time. Scientists have proven that habits take at least 3 weeks to develop. We need to understand what the good habits are which we can cultivate in order to remove all the negativity inside us. We need to get into the habit of being optimistic.

Before we can construct a good habit, we should know what we want and what the habit is. We need to make a list of all the good habits we want to possess, and pursue them! Keep practicing those habits as they are the ones which will either make or break us! A good book for understanding our habits is Stephen. R. Covey’s 7 habits for highly effective people. This has been my guide-book since adulthood and it has been extremely beneficial.  I highly recommend it.

Cultivating right habits (Image: eren / Flickr)

There are of course many other ways to think optimistically about life. These are just a few steps to help us combat negative thinking, and live a more meaningful life.