I’ve always identified as a “glass half-empty” type of girl. I was already pretty pessimistic, skeptical, and argumentative before I came to law school, and it only worsened once classes began. I was taught to issue-spot and poke holes in arguments, and never take things for what they seemingly are. I noticed, however, that I was becoming an even more aggressive, negative, and anxious person. Simply put, I was plain-old unpleasant to be around, and I hated myself for it. For quite some time, I accepted that I was just this kind of person naturally, and would continue living an unsatisfying life because one can’t change what’s “innate.” But a few years ago, I told myself that this was bullshit, and that I deserved a positive, energy-filled life. I didn’t have to turn simple conversations into wrestling matches, I didn’t have to validate myself by impressing other people, I didn’t have to hate myself for being “the way I was,” and I didn’t need to think of life as one long, monotonous sentence.
An audiobook that really impacted my way of thinking is The Power of Vulnerability by Brené Brown. A cult classic at this point, Brown, a researcher-storyteller, delves into what impedes human connection (prominently, our lack of vulnerability), how some people evade or numb their vulnerability, and how we can embrace our vulnerability and be emotionally courageous. It really changed how I approach my relationship with others, as well as I how I treat myself. Her work prompted me to do further research on how I could become a more positive person, and accordingly, here are the top five practices I’ve found that helped me in turning my negative, pessimistic attitude into a more positive one: