I would like to share this little brain game based on an activity that I did a few years ago in a university class. It will give you a bit of experience changing someone’s negative perceptions into positive thoughts that you can use to motivate yourself in your training or even other aspects of your life.

So here is how it works.

Step 1

Write down a list of positive things that people think of you or say about you. Next, write down a list of negative things you may have heard or come by frequently. It doesn’t matter how long each list is.

Step 2

Now that you have done that, let’s get to work. This is the tricky part so make sure you take your time to think about it.

Replace each negative characteristics with positive words. Try and come up with a positive attribute that could mean the same thing as the negative one if the person had perceived you or the situation differently. When one person may find you annoying, someone else may see you as energetic. In that case “annoying” can be changed to “energetic”.

If someone thinks you are loud and obnoxious, another person may see you as confident. Protective could be looked at as caring.
Go ahead! Try it! Replace all of your negatives with positives! Take your time!

What Do You Notice?

Suddenly you have an even longer list of positive characteristics. No negatives should be left on that page. Your positive list just went from small to big all by taking the time to explore how a negative characteristic can be also looked at as positive.
We have to remember that every negative thing that people say or think about us is THEIR perception of who we are or what we did at that moment. Someone else 10 minutes later could look at the same situation and think something completely different. What stands out about you to one person may not stand out to another. In my opinion, that is not a good reason to forget what you like about yourself and how much of a great person you are. You have so many valuable attributes to bring to the table, but unfortunately not everyone is going to see it that way. You will benefit from surrounding yourself with people who are okay with you expressing your ideas, wearing whatever make-up or clothes you want and who lift you up based on your strengths. You will be more confident in yourself.

Of course, all of this must be within respectful social boundaries. I am not saying you should go out and flaunt or brag about your A+ in class or your achievement at training while putting others down in the process. I am saying that if you do feel proud of yourself for getting that A+ or achieving one of your goals, you should not be afraid to tell others about it or praise yourself for it. If you think you are an energetic person, then you shouldn’t be afraid to dance and cheer if you just won a game or got a hole in one in mini golf. Even if your friend at the time thinks you are being overwhelming, someone else might think that you are fun and exciting. Be proud of who you are and what you have to offer.

It is a hard thing to do when it feels like the pessimistic thoughts of others are weighing down on your self-esteem. When I did the exercise myself, I found it was easy to come up with both the positive and the negative things that other people thought about me. Surprisingly, I found it difficult to come up with words to replace the negative attributes with. It took me a good half hour to figure it out. Once I was finished I was very proud of what I had come up with and now every time I hear those negative thoughts towards me I remember this exercise and the uplifting replacements that I came up with. When one person thinks something negative about you, there could be 50 other people that see something positive.

I hope this exercise opened your eyes and heart to start seeing some of the positives in yourself and being more confident despite what others may think or say about it. Be okay with some people having negative thoughts towards you and overcome them with your own strong personality. Make changes to yourself that you see value in and that will benefit you, not only others.

“You are your own most powerful motivator and critic. Which will you be?”

-Coach Brittany-