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Not Going Negative Report Back

PeanutsWith 4+ hours to go, results have been mixed. Early in the day, I doubled down by trying not only not to go negative but to make a point of saying nice things to people. That didn’t last. Listening to political pundits describing the Inauguration provided a real challenge, as did like-minded friends complaining about the pundits. I snark-tweeted twice before realizing it. Most interesting about the experience has been analyzing the catalyst for going negative. At times it was envy, irritability and trash talking as a way of bonding with someone else. How about you?


9 comments for “Not Going Negative Report Back”

  1. Stacey says:

    Well, I didn’t last very long at all.

    My very first client of the day yesterday arrived at 9am with a letter from the IRS that stated that she is being audited. It’s very difficult to assist someone with an IRS audit without saying something nasty about the IRS.

    Two hours after that, client #3 for the day didn’t show up for her scheduled appointment, without so much as a phone call or anything to let me know. When I called her at 25 minutes past the hour to suggest rescheduling, she told me that she just wanted to come in later on in the day, “when she could get around to it”. Since my calendar was already full yesterday, I suggested again that she reschedule for another day. She got all huffy with me, and why couldn’t I just move some of those other appointments around.

    By the time I got off the phone, I was a goner. Because I was in the office, I was able to keep the four-letter-words under control, but the rest… So much for staying positive!

    (Perhaps we could try this little experiment again on another day???)

  2. Ehm says:

    I had a pretty solitary day and didn’t talk to anyone, except during two phone calls. Even though I didn’t *vocalize* any negative comments, it was alarming to realize how frequently my self-talk was negative. Yikes. Thanks, Wendy, for this illuminating exercise.

    • wendy says:

      I set aside every Saturday as my “no worry” day. And that requires a lot of short circuiting the negative thoughts. It’s really good practice.

  3. Noelle says:

    I failed, as well. But I’ve been knocked flat with pneumonia and when I’m that sick, I’m mopey and irritable and in no mood to be charitable. That, to me, is the hardest part of being single. Dragging yourself to the doctor, to the pharmacy….invariably it happens when there are no groceries in the house, the gas tank is empty and I haven’t been to the ATM, either.

    Don’t know what my excuse is for the rest of the time. There is definitely sometimes an element of bonding there, and that one’s insidious because really, that’s the common ground I want to have with someone? But sometimes that seems the only way into the conversation.

    I don’t know. I don’t have enough oxygen to my brain this week to think it through.

    I like the “no worry” day but a whole DAY? Maybe I should start with like, five minutes. 🙂

    • wendy says:

      You have to trust me on this. Once you get into the 24 hour “worry free” day, you wish it would last the rest of the week. Noelle, so sorry to hear you’re not feeling well. As far as I’m concerned, that gives you a pass. Hope you’re on the mend soon!!

  4. Kathy says:

    Thank you for the exercise, Wendy. My “no negative spoken thoughts” day had a great start, but by 11am the first thoughts crept in and I joined a coworker in commiserating about a manager’s “brilliant ideas” that often generate much make-work.

    Then, the negative self-talk
    started, and things didn’t improve. It was so cold here that my car wouldn’t start, leaving me stranded for about an hour late at night at work. All I could hear was my brother’s voice in my head telling me that I didn’t have my act together (turns out that 100’s of cars didn’t start that day, so it was nothing I did or didn’t do). It might not have bothered me so much any other day, but the fact that I was trying to change my thought process made the day more frustrating.

    You have inspired me to try again, in shorter increments of time, or to have only a couple minutes in a day where I can let all the toxic stuff out, then resume trying to change my habits.

    It might sound trite, but when I was going through my separation and was depressed, I started a file of quotes that resonated with me. During your exercise, I referred to these two:
    Watch your thoughts; they lead to attitudes Watch your attitudes; they lead to words Watch your words; they lead to actions Watch your actions; they lead to habits Watch your habits; they form your character Watch your character; it determines your destiny…

    I’ll use it again. This one was also helpful:
    “Always keep your words tender, just in case you have to eat them tomorrow.” – Unknown

    When I find myself being pulled into a negative discussion about someone I don’t want to talk about, I imagine that person eavesdropping on the conversation
    and how hurt they might be if they heard the negative comments. If I can’t say something positive, I try to not say anything. It’s simplistic, but
    sometimes it works.

    • wendy says:

      Words have such power, both when we use them against others and ourselves. I’m definitely guilty on both counts. But I’ve gotten better about catching myself and trying to not totally succumb.

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