What builds you up? What breaks you down?

I think it’s important for us to reflect upon what aspects of our lives build us up as much as those that break us down. Chances are you’re either an optimist most of the time or a pessimist most of the time. If you’re an optimist it’s probably really easy for you to focus on what builds you up. Conversely, if you’re a pessimist it’s probably really easy for you to focus on what breaks you down. However, regardless of what’s easy, you need to force yourself to do both.

Life is all about balance. Rarely do they tell you directly to balance your thoughts. This is just as important as balancing your time for example. If your brain is constantly operating in one mode, eventually you won’t be able to further yourself in any other way. We need to think on the other side of things in order to understand what we need and what we need to change. Understanding both what builds you up and what breaks you down can propel you twice as far as just one or the other.

Plenty of behavioral theories suggest that as humans we prefer motivation rather than criticism to succeed. While this is certainly not the case for everybody it does offer a reason to force yourself out of the pessimistic view and into the optimistic realm. However, there are also a lot of people who were taught that whenever somebody says you can’t you should prove them wrong. I think both of these are healthy forms of encouragement, and I think both of them have their own place and time.

There are some people you want to please not prove wrong and there are others you want to spite in any way possible. That’s a simple dynamic of the way interpersonal relationships play out. However, assuming both types of people exist in your life, you need to make sure you have different motivational dynamics in place to respond appropriately. You can absolutely harm relationships by responding in a way that doesn’t fit your dynamics.

In addition to interpersonal relationships, relationship dynamics, etc. you also need to consider your mental attitude toward the events in your life. This is obviously more of an abstract approach, but it is just as important. When you take the people out of a situation, you may begin to see it differently. You would be surprised how much of an event you characterize by the people you were with. Thus, if you remove the people, you may change your attitude. You may find that something somebody does for you that you found really helpful is something you wouldn’t actually like coming from anybody else. Note this, and use this.

Regardless of what your attitude was when you began reading this blog, I would suggest changing to the opposite and reading it again. See if you notice anything different. See if you pick up on different pieces of this post. Furthermore, see if there’s any element of your life you haven’t been seeing in its clearest view. Try to figure out both who and what build you up or break you down, and figure out how to implement this is in your daily life. Above all, figure out what works best for you to keep you motivated in your work and personal lives. Use what works as much as you can, and share with others.

Published by She Got The PhD

A web-based soapbox of an Assistant Professor of color in Chemical Engineering; sharing my feelings on books, academia, and current events. I hope you enjoy reading :)

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