So what do I mean when I say stop thinking ugly? It has nothing to do with looks, I’m talking about an ugly attitude. To me, thinking ugly is when you give in to those little voices telling you that you’re not good enough, that you’ll never have what you want, that you don’t deserve to be happy and succeed at your goals, that other people are better, prettier, funnier, and more lovable than you. It’s a vicious cycle- ugly breeds ugly. Put negativity in the world, and more often than not, negativity comes right back. Stop the cycle, get off that train, and change your attitude. This is a continuing, long journey for me, but I’m trying very hard to think beautiful. Also, please remember that I'm not an expert! These are just the ways I've found that have helped me, and each person is different.
1) Acknowledge the Ugly: Negative thoughts are natural. Feelings like jealousy, greed, and insecurity are incredibly easy to give in to, but acknowledging and understanding can help overcome them and to think beautiful. This is obviously more easily said than done, and it takes practice, but cognizance of your feelings can be very empowering.
You’re in a store, and you see another woman with a beautiful body picking out the cutest clothes, clothes that wouldn’t even fit over your head. If your first thought is, “It’s so easy for her, she’s perfect, I’ll never be like her so I might as well go get a doughnut,” then you’re a lot like me. But what does thinking like this get you? Nowhere fast. Instead, try stopping for a moment and thinking about why your first thought was negative. Accept that you were having an ugly thought, and understand why you had it: perhaps you are uncomfortable with your own body image. There’s nothing wrong with that frustration, but now you know the source of your negativity towards that other woman. Acknowledge that you were thinking ugly, understand it, and then work to change it. Instead, think beautiful, “Wow, she’s got really good taste in clothes, how can I imitate her style?” This is far more constructive and won’t have you reaching for that doughnut.
2) Compliment Someone Regularly: Give credit where credit is due. If someone did their eyeliner perfectly, tell them! You’ll make their day and you’ll feel good about it also. Did someone at work do an awesome presentation? Let them know. Someone doing something well doesn’t take away at all from what you’re capable of, so there’s no point in ignoring their efforts or success. Give a sincere compliment to someone, even a stranger, and it is a boost for both of you.
I always notice people’s makeup, so if I notice that the cashier at Starbucks has a beautiful color of lipstick on, I will go out of my way to say how pretty it is (and ask what lipstick it is). Usually I get a smile back at the very least, and it makes me feel good that they were pleased with what I said. We all love getting a compliment, and they’re free to give.
3) Find a Purpose, Any Purpose: I often find myself thinking ugly when I’ve got very little going on in my life. It’s like the absence of activity allows for my brain to go places I don’t really want it to. So I try to find a purpose, big or small, to quiet those thoughts of inadequacy, envy, and melancholy.
Take up a hobby, commit to binge watching that show you've been meaning to watch, volunteer at a local food bank, join a club, anything to get your juices flowing. You will feel much better about yourself if you accomplish a task or get involved with an activity, no matter how meaningful or banal. If there's something that interests you, try meetup.com to find others in your area with similar tastes.
4) Recognize the Good & Be Grateful: There is so much beauty in the world, but when negativity and thinking ugly cloud your vision, that beauty can be hard to see. Make a conscious effort to look for that beauty, and seek it out. A simple kind gesture by a stranger, a bright orange sunset on a summer evening, a joke shared among friends, a lazy day off from work, there is good all around in even the smallest things. As you start to see more and more of the good this world has to offer, perhaps you'll see less and less of the bad.
Being grateful for all those wonderful things will also help change your outlook. Appreciating what you have, who you have in your life, and what you do leads to happiness. An attitude of happiness creates optimism and confidence, and there's no room for thinking ugly with that mindset. Be mindful of all the things in your life that you are thankful for, and remind yourself of those things regularly. Also, express that gratefulness and show it to others, as appreciation should be spread.
5) Unplug Once In A While: If social media brings out the green-eyed monster in you, take a break (hence the inspiration for this post!). I used to be a major Facebook hater- every post I saw seemed to be new house, new baby, awesome job, awesome spouse, awesome vacation, etc. It was SO easy for me to feel terrible about my own life because I felt so lacking compared to others, and it would make me pretty depressed. So I deleted the Facebook app off of my phone and cut myself off from that world. Once I did I started to feel better. I wasn’t comparing myself to others anymore, and it freed me from those negative thoughts. What I did was a bit extreme, but perhaps you’re due for a tiny break (I've slowly been returning to Facebook, but mostly for blogging). Also, remember that 99% of all posts are people’s ideal lives and don’t show the whole picture. So take social media posts with a grain of salt, it rarely represents the true story.
Also: Don't be afraid to get help. There are so many resources out there to help clear out the negativity and help you see the beauty of your world and your life. Reach out to a friend, a colleague, a doctor, whoever it takes that can help you if you are feeling depressed. Remember, there are people out there who love you.
What helps you improve your outlook? Let me know in the comments below! And be sure to follow me on Instagram and Facebook to stay up to date with me!