Positive Vibes Only

Thursday 25 September 2014


The past few weeks have been somewhat turbulent, not necessarily for me, but on a global scale. Scratch that - things always seem turbulent across the globe these days. Every time we turn on the news we are faced with stories of crises affecting millions of people - wars and conflict, diseases like Ebola, and even on a more local scale, the unsettled feeling here in the UK caused by the recent Referendum. It's sometimes hard to get your head around.

Moving to a more personal level, I'm still job hunting, and that is, as I've discussed before, a horrible process. So many of us know how difficult it is to feel so stuck in limbo, sitting at home applying for jobs you are more than qualified for and being able to do nothing but apply, wait and hope for the best. You start worrying about money and getting left behind (and, if you're me, yearning for life at university). Being out of a routine, especially after an unbelievably hectic year doing my Masters, is giving me itchy feet and making me feel antsy.

The point is, it's ever so easy to start feeling negative. When things around you seem unstable and uncertain, the temptation to give in to that niggling thought of "what if things don't work out" can be overwhelming. I've always had a tricky relationship with time - I've panicked that time is passing too quickly since I was a teenager, and focused far too much of my energy on a sort of involuntary countdown at every birthday (my birthday is conveniently placed exactly six months before Christmas, breaking the year exactly in two) and Christmas; a countdown to what, I'm not sure. It's a fear that the years are going past too fast and I'm not where I thought I wanted to be. I'm not in a relationship, not settled in a career, not able to afford to move out and fully pay my own way, and start feeling like a "proper grown-up". I know for a fact I'm not alone in this fear!


Recently though, in the first few weeks of job hunting, I had a sort of epiphany during my endless trawling through Pinterest quotes. I don't know how many times I've read quotes along the lines of "A negative mind will never give you a positive life" before, and while I've read it, and pinned it and preached it, I don't think I've ever really practiced it. I've agreed with it, blogged about it and encouraged my friends and family to live their lives by it. But I don't think I've ever really tried to do it myself. That's not to say I've been a negative person - I think, though, there's a difference between believing that being positive is for the best, and actively seeking the positives.

This all snowballed from my thoughts on gender equality. Being as passionate as I am about feminist issues and gender equality can make it difficult sometimes to stay positive, when every huge step forward (like Emma Watson's inspiring speech announcing the He for She UN campaign this weekend), seems to be followed by an equally huge step back (the vile internet trolls threatening to leak nude photos of her - which ultimately turned out to be a hoax - to "put her back in her place"). However, if things really were hopeless, and unable to change, I wouldn't keep trying to raise awareness or post links to these articles in the hope that they will spark an interest in someone who has never really paid much attention before. Trying to see the good in every situation, no matter how hard that might sometimes be, is the only way to live a really positive life. If we focus on the negative, it becomes really hard to believe that things will ever change. And if you don't believe there is a possibility for change, why on earth would you bother trying?

At the moment I am aware that I am being relentlessly, possibly annoyingly positive, and that will probably fade a little bit over time. For now though, I'm feeling really good, and I think that speaks volumes. Earlier this week I received an email letting me know that I hadn't been successful in my application for something I really, really wanted. I didn't even realise how much I wanted it until I applied. Before, I would probably have been utterly devastated by that news and would have definitely cried and possibly wallowed for a couple of days. But really, what is the use in that? That's a waste of a couple of days of my life. Instead, I put on Lady Gaga "Fashion of his Love" (the ultimate cheer-up/dance-around-in-your-chair song), drank a cup of tea and decided that there will be another opportunity (much like the one I missed out on this time) in the future. That time I will be even more ready for it. So I spent the evening at Emma's, watched an episode of The Originals when I got home (couldn't be more in love with Elijah if I tried), and had a good sleep. The next day I was rewarded with an email to let me know I had been successful in landing a really exciting part time job for the next few months, tied closely to my degree. Putting positive vibes out in to the world definitely works wonders.


The reality is that feeling down and negative is different for everyone - this post, I want to make one hundred percent clear, is in no way related to actual, clinical depression or anxiety disorders. This is just about dealing with the run of the mill negative thought patterns so many of us are guilty of developing! I know that my spells of feeling like that, though, are caused (99% of the time) by a fear that life isn't working out the way it should. What does that really mean though? That it isn't working out the way you pictured it as a child or a teenager? One of the biggest problems we face in life is dealing with our lives not panning out the way we, or those around us, imagined they would. So you imagined you would be married by your mid-twenties, with a baby on the way by thirty and a few years worth of a decent career already under your belt by then, and that doesn't work out. Think about all the things you've experienced along the way instead, that people who are in that position haven't. Whether that's travel, extended study or working a few different jobs and meeting a whole host of interesting people along the way. In so many of these situations there is a way of finding a silver lining, or looking for a positive. Especially in a time where the world seems to be falling apart, there are endless opportunities to try to do things to make the world a better place - whether that's raising thousands of pounds for charity, or just treating your pal to some lunch because they're feeling a bit down. I know that then opens the whole can of worms of "is there such a thing as a selfless good deed", but if you can help someone else and feel better yourself as a by-product, I don't think that's such a bad thing. Negative thought patterns are a habit, and breaking them isn't easy, but it's definitely possible if we try to focus on the good. It sounds daft, but I'd also recommend searching for lists online of "X number of photos which prove the world isn't such a bad place after all" - it sounds silly, but seeing random acts of kindness collected into one post like that really does help you feel a bit better. And if the only positive thing you do today is read a chapter of that book you've always wanted to read, that's great. It's a little tick in a box on the old list of things you want to do in your life. Some people are so busy working or worrying that they never take the time to do something they actually really want to do. And surely those are the moments we'll cherish later on in life?

Life is full of ups and downs, and there are always going to be times when we are sad or frustrated, or even just having a bad day, fuelled by an argument or tiredness or even just hormones. But life is short, and time is not something we have any control over. I'm reading "The Time Keeper" by Mitch Albom at the moment (which, so far, is excellent) and it is already examining our modern obsession with time, something that thousands of years ago meant something completely different to what it does now. We measure time down to the second, and millisecond - no wonder we are so aware of it passing. The point is, life is short, we only get one shot at it and so when negative thoughts start to plague my mind I'm going to turn to my Pinterest Quotes board, give myself a kick in the right direction and focus on the good. I can say, in all honesty, that it is already having a really big impact. Positive Vibes Only, from now on.


Thanks for reading!


  1. LOVE this post! You've summed up pretty much exactly how I feel as a new graduate with very little idea where to go next (other than back to uni for an MA!). Thank you for such a timely reminder about the importance of attitude and mindset - much needed.

    Hannah xx

  2. Love this post Lynsey! And congratulations on landing you part time job, look forward to seeing you next week :) x