Living Above The Line

Living Above The Line

I was recently introduced to the concept of living above and below the line and wanted to share it with you. While many of us have heard these principles before, thinking about being above/below the line is a great way to visualize our patterns.

When we live above the line, we see life from a positive place and are hopeful, creative, and optimistic. When we live below the line, our attitudes are more negative and we can feel powerless, sad, angry, fearful or hopeless.

It is important to remember that we are in charge of how we see the world. While we are continually faced with challenges, the key is recognizing when certain thoughts enter our stream of consciousness and working on how we react to these challenges. To quote Epictetus – “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”

For example, lets say you’re a sales person who just lost one of your biggest accounts. Many people would fall below the line and feel powerless and upset. Others might be above the line and think about how they could change the situation for the better. Maybe they would think of the possibilities that will open up now that they have more time to focus on other accounts or come up with solutions to the problem, like reaching out to some other potential clients.ย People living above the line focus on what can be done moving forward, while people living below the line have trouble moving past why something happened.

You’ll find that once you make a concerted effort to live above the line, you’ll attract happiness, positive energy, and feel more connected with people.

Have you heard of this concept before? Let me know your thoughts.


Not an official Happster yet? Become one and get free happy notes here:ย

32 thoughts on “Living Above The Line

  1. I like this concept. Maybe your example of the sales person is also related to self-esteem? I think a good level of self-esteem probably makes it easier to stay naturally above the line, and where self-esteem is low then working to stay above the line could increase self-esteem too and lead to greater happiness.

  2. Thanks, I Just Had All My Plans Detailed Lost A Night Of Sleep, I Needed This Reminder To Rise Above. Works Been Hard, I’ve Been Feeling A Victim Of A Underminding Supervisor. With A Challenge Of A Colleague I’ve Been Proactive In Defusing It By Making Sure I Have Everthing Under ContrOl

  3. Love this concept. I try to live my life this way but have never seen it put this way – so clear & simple. I know powerless is on the bottom half, but I have found that realizing you are powerless over others actions & thoughts brings a sense of empowerment. It’s easier to remain positive & optimistic when you just focus on your own attitudes & behaviors. Thanks for this post!!

  4. Reblogged this on Kim the Dietitian’s Weblog and commented:
    I love this visual for attitudes! It certainly applies to improving health habits, including eating. In case this is not obvious, let’s look at how each “above the line” attitude helps, and how each “below the line” attitude hurts.

    Creative – Being creative helps solve patterns that are not helping you. Creativity allows for better meal planning and avoidance of excessive temptation.
    Generous – Are you stingy with feeding yourself? If you feel overly deprived, it is only a matter of time before the pendulum swings back toward excess. Being generous with others has also proven to be a great way to lift mood, which in turn lifts your ability to take care of yourself.
    Hopeful – Do I need to expand on this?! Without hope, what good is any attempt?
    Positive – A “can do” attitude – seeing the glass half full – keeps brain chemistry optimal. That makes everything possible.
    Optimistic – Ditto
    Energetic – Momentum comes from energy. Without it, not much gets done – no cooking, no workouts . . .
    Loving – Are you worthy of good health? Of course you are. Believing that is the most basic way to exhibit self-love. With self-love, loving others is possible.
    _______________________________________________ (the line!)

    Angry – Anger creates reaction, not action. (An angry reaction to a weight on the scale often propels a binge or causes people to quit trying altogether.) From a place of calm, action can progress toward a goal.
    Sad – Think of a deep, deep hole. That’s not the easiest place to work on changes.
    Powerless – If you don’t think you can do it, guess what? You can’t.
    Negative – Negative thoughts lead to negative actions. This is never a good way to improve.
    Jealous – Does it feel good to envy someone else’s situation or body? “She eats whatever she wants and looks like THAT!” First of all, keep in mind that you never really know how someone else lives behind closed doors. Secondly, you have your metabolism and your body, and someone else’s situation does not have anything to do with that. Jealousy is self-destructive and takes your focus off of what you can do to help yourself.
    Fearful – Fears cause inaction. Inaction causes NO CHANGE.
    Pessimistic – OK, Debbie Downer, pick yourself up and start thinking more positively! Expect bad results, and that is exactly what you will get.

  5. First, thanks for following cherrypositive. This is really very informative post and I really loved your blog title ‘The Happsters’. Thanks for this incredible blog. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Great post. Simply put. We all know people who live both above and below the line. Unfortunately, I know one in particular who lives well below the line and see the way this affects her children and all aspects of her life. On the contrary, there are several living above the line, who live effective and happy lives despite circumstantial difficulties. I love this. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for checking out my blog! ๐Ÿ˜€

  7. This idea is similar to something in a textbook by Michael Olpin and Margie Hesson. They refer to “levels of responding” that are effective or ineffective. Gratitude, acceptance, discovery and observation are at the effective end; and resistance, judgment, blaming and attachment/rightness are at the ineffective end.

  8. I love this concept! I hadn’t seen it presented this way before, but it is definitely a change I have consciously tried to make in the past year (spurred on by a personal loss). This is such a great way to explain it ๐Ÿ™‚

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s