Being an Individual that Promotes Positivity
There is so much negativity in the world. This is a fact. It's a very depressing fact, but it's something we can try to change. It all starts on an individual level. You can be the one to help change it. I have noticed that for every hateful comment I or someone else receives, there is at least 2 or more positive comments, telling the person that we shouldn't listen to them. Hopefully, this post inspires you to be more positive with others, or even change you completely in that sense. I don't expect this to completely change you, but baby steps are all I ask.
The first step in being an individual that promotes positivity, is to be positive to oneself. Especially in this day and age, there is a lot of self-deprecating humor. Lots of jokes about dying and being trash as well as anger towards oneself for not being "as far along" as others. Everyone moves at their own pace. This is the same in the cosplay community as it is in the real world. A cosplay may take me a week to make, but you a month or longer. That doesn't mean that I'm better than you, this just means we work at different paces. You are still going to look amazing. What may take someone a year to get a car or their own apartment may take you 2 or 3. That doesn't mean you are a failure. You are working by your clock and that is perfectly alright. The self-deprecating humor needs to slow down and even stop. By calling yourself a useless piece of garbage, you instill sub-consciously that you are garbage, when in reality, you are a wonderful friend, a beautiful human. Once you get those feelings under control, you will start to feel better about yourself, as well as being on the right track to promoting the positivity we so desperately need.
A great way to help foster this positivity until it can become realized is to find a healthy support system. I know it's so very difficult to deal with parents, bills, school, work, etc, but having a group of friends you can rely on to protect you, and doing the same, can do wonders. I was a very angry person growing up. I had an abusive household, and without getting too deep or in detail, I was suicidal and honestly would not be here had it not been for my support system. I have always had at least one friend I could count on in order to help me make it through the day. And when I didn't have that friend, I got my cat Iroh. Although my fur baby does not realize what he has done for me, I can say with confidence that this cat has saved my life multiple times. As he lays by my feet while I type this, he is my best friend. Of course I have human friends now that support me, but he's definitely my ride-or-die. But back to the main point: Without your healthy support system, you cannot begin to take care of others in a healthy way.
Find something good about yourself. It may be something minor like, "I like the way I sing," or "I like how beautiful my eyes are." I know this sounds silly, but it is extremely important. When people notice how you love yourself, you can indirectly spark something in them. Yes, most days, I hate how I look. But with my S.O. Tolia, I feel it less. This man tells me daily that I am beautiful and amazing and perfect and goes on and on about how wonderful he truly believes I am. When I voice a concern I have for myself, he is always by my side telling me how wrong I am and that I am perfect and made exactly how I'm supposed to be. Keep this mentality as well. Compliment people. Even if you don't know them. Getting even a minuscule compliment like, "I like your hair," makes you feel great at the end of a long day. If I am out and about, I do my best to compliment at least two people. Something minor, and quick, but thoughtful. When you begin to really enjoy yourself, you tend to notice more great things with others.
That being said though, you shouldn't compare yourself to others. This goes back to my point about being on your own timeline. Don't compare yourself to others as being better or worse than them. It's absolutely discouraging, either to yourself or those around you. In order to promote positivity, you must allow for growth. Especially in the cosplay community, there is a lot of putdown for those just starting out, or those buying their cosplays rather than making them. Not everyone has the same talents as you. While you may be a wiz at prop-making, others are better at wigs or sewing. This does not make you any better than them, or them better than you. This is just different. I hold a very firm belief that every single person has a very special talent in this world and you may not know it at the time, but someday, you will realize it. Nurture it. Always look to improve yourself, but don't just compare yourself to others for that. We aren't ever sure how many failures it took for them to get there. But pointing out others' shortcomings isn't right. If someone doesn't ask for your critique, don't give it. Ask if they are up for it, and if so, then you may give a helpful opinion.
I cannot tell you how many times I have heard, "Well, you should do this better," and then give zero advice on how to make something better. If you cannot offer sound advice, don't give it. The rule I have been raised by of, "If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all." I am not perfect and will think negatively about others and their cosplays or their lives, but especially if I have nothing helpful to give, I shut up about it. I especially don't like that I have these thoughts, but I also don't act on them. One wrong thing can ruin a person's day, or even their life. Maybe that person was already feeling down about their cosplay and hearing me say that "I really dislike this on you" (or what have you), makes them quit a hobby they once loved. That isn't right for me to destroy something they hold so dear.
Ways that you can promote this sense of positivity is to compliment things others did well on. Their wig, prop, poses, armor, makeup. It takes less than a minute to tell someone, "You did a great job!" Especially listening to those that believe in you, as well as blocking out the haters helps promote a self-positivity, which you can spread to other people. Sometimes, even sharing others on your social media works. Just showing those around you how much you support this other person is great. It takes no time at all and helps bring others together. I love nothing more than being told someone believes in me and my work. Honestly, I could probably write a book about how happy that makes me feel.
Knowing that other people support you as well as supporting yourself can help feed into a never-ending cycle of positivity that can get bigger and bigger. My goal as someone who does have a bit of influence (I'm no Phil Mizuno or Kamui Cosplay) is to inspire others and to promote the positivity that we so direly need today. I really hope that this article as well as all my others give you the confidence you need, or the knowledge you need to help make your next project. If I can even help a couple of cosplayers or photographers gain followers from their interviews, I've done my job. I've made it my goal to promote positivity, and I hope you do as well. Thank you so so much for continuing to support me, because I want to support you.