I was very frustrated about my lack of progress in my life and my career for a long time. That's why I quit my old job. I couldn't move up anymore. I was stuck and it wasn't worth staying put for the wage I was making, not when I was that miserable. My own mental health finally meant a lot more than the job to me. But it took a lot of courage to admit that.
Still, it was only recently that I realized that there is a huge difference between pretending to be happy and staying positive. They are, in fact, not the same thing. You have to admit things suck. You have to accept reality, but also understand that only you can change your reality. This is something that is very hard for people to understand. A lot of people think that their lives are almost entirely at the whims of other people.
There's a prevalent belief that some people simply are born with good luck, while others are just seemingly destined for mediocrity, or worse, abject failure. I don't think a lot of people consciously think this, it certainly seems that this is how a lot of people end up feeling. Most people are content with mediocrity because they can only think of worse, and can't seem to imagine things being any better.
Dealing with Negativity
That's where actually being positive comes in. I deal with tons of negative thoughts every day. But I have a lot to be thankful for. I've had very supportive parents and a very supportive family in general. I have a roof over my head, good food to eat, and electricity. Most importantly, I have internet access - which is vital for everything that I do. I also have a few extremely good friends, but I'm very shy and all but a couple are only online. I also have an amazing and supportive partner in Lyn. I count my blessings. I focus on the good things and work to have more good things.
But you still have accept your reality. I have serious issues with depression and social anxiety. The latter, believe it or not, is probably the more limiting one. I can usually fight through my depression, while expending great amounts of energy, but I can do it. Medicines have never worked for me. They might even me out for a bit, but I usually end up with a really bad reaction. The last one I was on made me jittery and there were days where I was so high-strung I'm pretty sure people around me wanted to hang me. So I just cut medicine out of my life, except that I still take a nasal inhaler for my chronic sinus issues. I've accepted that I have some serious imbalances inside of my head, and I've learned to live with them.
However, I will never accept using those as a crutch. I'm not going to go and take evaluations to try and get disability for my "conditions." I've wanted to, but then I would be giving in to the very things that hold me back some days. Believe it or not though, it's not depression and social anxiety holding me back. They don't help and they take some days and flush them straight down the toilet. I also get manic at times, but not in the traditional bipolar way. I build up my ego to the point sometimes where I convince myself something will actually work for once. Every single time, with one single exception, all of those things have failed, some of them quite miserably. Then again, that exception led to me meeting Lyn, so that was a really good one. Goes to show how staying positive can pay off!
Focus on the Positive Things
So what actually is the actual difference between pretending to be happy and actually staying positive? It's about focusing on the positive things: the good people in your life, the things you enjoy, the places you want to go, and the things you want to live to do. You accept that there are circumstances and limitations often out of your control. However, you have to do what you can. Yes, some people can do a great quantity of work than you can, but you might be surprised if you give something you love your all, something that you're passionate about, you'll accomplish more in a day than most people today accomplish in a week. In the end, it's about the quality, anyway.
It's amazing how many people work incredibly mundane and uneventful jobs and come home and really do absolutely nothing. It's also amazing how many people work really lousy jobs with terrible employers and working conditions and still manage to find time to raise their families and somehow keep on. You know what the difference is? Staying positive - accepting the situation but focusing on the good things that are worth living for. Yes, it is possible to accept a bad situation for what it is - but you make the most of it. It may take some creativity and a little bit of help from friends and family, but it's doable. Nothing is really impossible, only highly improbable.
The trick is to not pretend to be positive, but work positively. If you are truly negative, you need to understand what is making you negative and work towards turning yourself to more positive and productive thinking. As long as you pretend, you're not doing yourself or anyone else any favors. Having a positive outlook cannot be faked. You must dedicate yourself to it and live with the idea in mind to always be moving one step ahead. If you focus on that, you'll find that you'll make progress in anything and everything you do. Just be patient and always stay positive. That's how I do it every day.