…which is what I keep telling myself.
Have you ever noticed when you consciously decide to change something, sometimes it gets worse before it gets better? Maybe “it” — in this case, the habit of speaking negatively — was worse than I thought, or was it? I may never know because I was not entirely unconscious when I made the decision to become more aware.
I’ve always thought of myself as a fairly positive person. Even in spite of having to deal with some crappy stuff in life, which I’m not alone in, that’s for sure. I practice gratitude, I make a point of being pleasant to proverbial strangers (most of the time), and compliment people when I truly mean it (otherwise I generally say nothing).
But for some reason, as soon as I challenged myself to take it up a notch and not say anything negative (well, maybe…I’m not entirely sure) a wave of negativity came spewing out of me. The worst part: I felt like I was having an out of body experience, watching this unrecognizable person say things that I wouldn’t dream of saying (usually, right?).
“If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.”
So this little challenge started because I am a believer in the more energy you give to something, the more of that you’ll get, and I like myself well enough to want more of the good stuff. I generally keep my thinking clean and focus on joy, peace,
very little strife, laughter, love and fun. And, let me be clear, this blog post was only intended to address the verbal negative thoughts. Let’s not forget the 60,000 or so unconscious thoughts we as humans have each day and the negative self-talk that can be a bad habit to overcome.
I’m having to dig deep and process many thoughts and feelings, versus the alternative of blurting out comments that would be essentially useless. Not that I’m ever inappropriate (oh my kids would disagree on this one!), but I’m becoming more conscious as to how saying fewer words with more meaning is my ultimate goal.
My paternal Grandfather was a man of few words. Actually, both my Grandpas were, but “Grandpa Crew” as we called him had experienced some war trauma that he never spoke of and likely gave him a unique perspective on life. He was a hard-working gentleman who I don’t remember ever being critical, except sometimes when my Grandmother, who was the complete opposite (also kind, but blunt) would say something a little too blunt and he would call out in his British accent, “Dooreeeeeen.”
As I finish up the first full week of attempting to not verbalize anything negative, I’ve found myself a bit stressed out and even frustrated that life has presented me with situations where, in reality they are simply just life situations. These situations are not bad or negative per se, but some sad and some just part of life. So, it’s up to me to assess in my head (first, without reacting) and offer support and positive verbal comments, combined with compassion, instead of the alternative that could take me down a road of negativity, which does nobody any good.
In the end, I may wind up taking “it” up a notch and being more deliberate with what I say (or keep to myself), but it’s been an interesting week and I’m feeling the effects of consciously attempting to make a change.
How about you? Have you ever tried to make a change and found “it” got worse before it got better. Please share in the comments.