The other day I was in the 15 items or less checkout lane at the store. I only had two kids with me, baby in the sling, four year old roaming but within my sight. I had maybe four items. The person in front of me, however, had a cartful, which she then proceeded to split into two separate transactions in an attempt to sidestep the whole "15 items or less thing". Fine. No problem. I'm in no rush, no big deal.
Then she questioned a price, and her transaction was put on hold while another store employee went to verify the price. I could feel myself getting really miffed and had to try really hard to not roll my eyes. REALLY HARD. But, I managed not to, and when I got home and my husband asked me how my day was, I almost launched into a tirade explaining the story about the woman with her full cart, her bad attitude, and her complete lack of awareness of anyone else behind her.
Just as I was about to start though, I stopped, and I asked myself, do I really need to share this?
The answer, it turns out, was no. I did not need to let loose my irritation about this woman who chances are neither of us would ever see again and let my words form a little dark cloud that would pop up there between us in our kitchen. It wasn't necessary, and to be honest with you, it felt better to just let it go rather than rehash it and bring up the nasty feelings it brought up.
You see, lately I've been trying to identify how much "negative" I am bringing into the world, and how I can curb it, even a little bit. On social media I saw someone challenge the above, say nothing negative for one day. Not one year, not one month, not one week. One day. Now for some people I know this would be super easy, for others, one hour would be difficult. And for me, at first, it was an eye opener.
The concept is simple though. Before getting into the whole idea of negative thoughts, this truly is just you trying to avoid saying something negative. To avoid complaining, avoid putting a bad spin on something, avoid judging someone, avoid hurtful comments. Yes, they might pop into your brain, but for just one day try not to say them and put them out into the world. It's really not as easy as you think it is.
My biggest reason for doing it? My kids. The little sponges with ears that are with me nearly 24/7 who look to me to see how I react and respond to people and situations. If I had made a comment to the woman in the checkout line I'm pretty much telling my four year old "This woman was a little rude so I get to be rude too". Or, "Someone else delaying us by five more minutes is reason enough to say something nasty". Instead I silently picked up my purchases and took them to another cashier, the other woman walked out of the store without me noticing, and I had a pleasant exchange with the new cashier, we left, smiling.
I thought to myself, if I had said something to the woman, would I have felt better? No. Would she have learned a lesson? Probably not. Would telling my husband the story later have helped at all? Definitely not. And today I retell it only as an example of those little daily things that pop up that you can either hold on to, or let go.
I took it further and made sure I was doing the "no negative" with the kids too. Instead of "If you don't put your shoes on we are going to be late for preschool" I tried "If we get there early you can run around in the gym". Instead of "If you wake the baby up you're going to be in trouble" I tried "You are so good at being quiet like a little mouse".
In my daily life I noticed how much better I felt to just let the negative flow through me, not out of me. Instead of "venting", something I seemed to justify to NO END, I just let it go. Instead of making a nasty comment about a celebrity doing something silly on TV I changed the channel, instead of engaging in a political "discussion" that would go absolutely nowhere, I changed the subject, and instead of saying "LEARN HOW TO F&*^%NG DRIVE" to the guy who almost clipped me in the roundabout I just said nothing. That one was hard.
So I want you to try it. Just take it at it's simplest form. Just say nothing negative for one day. See how it makes you feel. See how it rubs off on the kids. See how when you go back to free wheeling negativity, it just doesn't seem "right" anymore. You'll like it, I promise. xoxo