I’ve been a bit bummed, stressed out, and unhappy lately. It sort of came to a head on Monday this week leaving me pretty upset. I felt unappreciated and surrounded by a lot of negativity. I tend to be a negative person by nature and it’s very easy for me to get stuck in the negativity when it’s all around me. I don’t want to be that person. I hate being that person. I decided that, if no one else was going to notice the positive in me, I would make it a point to.
On Tuesday I created a list where I would write down one good thing I did each day. Whether it was something I did that made me feel proud, a compliment from a coworker, or something I did to help someone else out. I wanted at least one positive thing per day to reflect on. I placed the list out in the open where I could see it and realize that what I am doing is being recognized. Even if only by myself.
A strange and somewhat surprising thing has happened already – and it’s only been a week! Since I’ve started taking notice of the positive, I am seeing it more and more. Whereas, on Monday, I felt like no one ever gave me any form of positive reinforcement at all; by Friday I’ve noticed that I do actually get told “good job” more frequently. Because of this, I’m even more motivated to do more to get some of that good feedback from others and myself. (Seriously!)
While I’m still surrounded by negativity, I’m finding it’s impacting me less. There are still moments when I find myself complaining about something or rolling my eyes when someone else is whining. But it’s not as frequent. It’s almost as if this focus on the positive is forming a protective bubble around me. Forcing me to look beyond all the mistakes and constant criticism and switch my energy towards a more productive, positive outlook.
The same thing is true when you’re training dogs. You really do get a completely different attitude towards working with your canine partner when you focus on the things they do right rather than the things they do wrong. It is hard to switch your perspective when your dog is tearing up the house, pottying inside, pulling on the leash, or being reactive to other dogs. I think human beings are almost programmed to notice the negative easier than the positive. But, by simply changing your point of view, you can help your dog overcome his issues. As you focus on the positive, you see the positive. You become more positive. And the relationships around you change for the better.
They always say “Your attitude matters. Pick a good one.” I never thought I’d be the sort of person to actually agree with this. It works in dog training. It can work in your life too.