Welcome back! I appreciate your support in my battle against negativity and efforts to be more positive. Special thanks to those who have left me encouraging comments or promoted my work by sharing the link to this or one of the previous days’ articles. It’s time to share the lessons learned from day five of my negativity diet. I hope you’re enjoying my journey to a more positive and optimistic life. If you missed Day 1, you can read all about it here.
If you’ve been following along you know that I like rules and order. It’s probably not a shock that I am very particular (being kind to myself with that description) about cleanliness. I had arrived to aerobics class just as Zumba was starting (click here to learn about Zumba). In class was a dear lady that I hadn’t seen in weeks and I waved happily to her. At the first break she opened her arms to give me a big sweaty hug. Now, I was really glad to see her and quite sweaty myself already, but I have to admit to hesitating a second before returning her hug. I’m really glad that she didn’t notice because it would have hurt her feelings and I was truly happy to see her. Before this experiment I probably wouldn’t have been able to squelch the negative thought so fast and my hesitation would have shown. I guess God was testing me in this area because another classmate gave me an even sweatier hug after class and this time I’m happy to report that I was able to just return the hug and enjoy the offer of friendship in fitness.
Opening the Door of Possibility
After I returned home from the gym I heated up my lunch. I’d just sat down when there was a knock at the door. I would normally have ignored it, negatively assuming it was a solicitor as my friends and neighbors know I’m a call ahead kind of person. Instead, I decided to be optimistic about the positive possibilities and go ahead and answer the door. It turns out that one of the neighborhood children whose grandfather currently has cancer and two other grandparents have passed away from cancer was doing a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Hearing this little boy share his story of hope was positively heart warming and I was glad to be able to help him. Had I been negative and ignored the door I would have missed out on that positive opportunity.
Complaints Spread Like Wildfire
Here’s the first time I actually uttered a negative statement aloud (that I’m aware of) during this experiment. Funny that it would happen in an unexpected place – the voting station! I absolutely love being an American and exercising my right to vote. Amazingly when I arrived there was no line and I happened to know one of the election officials so we chatted a bit. Everything was going great. Then there were some technical difficulties with their printer. Was that the trigger? No. Ironically, the trigger was when they handed me the printout and it included my political party affiliation. I remembered that my husband asked me to find out if there was a way to get off the calling lists so we wouldn’t get so many phone calls (we were getting close to 10 a day as the official day neared). I asked if there was a form to be removed from the calling lists and someone joked that I’d probably have to switch parties for that. Then I thought about it and as my husband and I had already discussed doing it to avoid the barrage of calls before the next election, asked how to go about switching to “independent” so I wouldn’t get so many phone calls. This started a wildfire of debate in the room (although there wasn’t a line for voters there were probably around 15 election officials in the room) and it was as though I totally forgot about this experiment as I participated. I made one negative comment and then everyone was suddenly talking and complaining about the number of phone calls received. The heated discussion was still going on even after I finished voting. I wish positive comments travelled so quickly! If I could turn back time I’d have kept my mouth shut and hopefully everyone would have continued in Election Day peace. As embarrassed as I was for starting that flurry of negative comments, I had collected my wits before exiting the building and got back on my positive thinking track again. I seized the idea that every moment is one we can start anew.
I decided to keep yesterday’s verse for another day so I’m still focusing on Proverbs 16:24, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Of all the people with whom I should be careful to use pleasant words, my husband deserves it the most. He is, after all, my partner in life. But I am striving to use pleasant words for all of my interactions, not only with family and friends but with anyone I meet. Whether at the library, gym, store or anywhere there are other people. Every human being deserves to be treated with respect.
May God bless you and help us all to release negativity and embrace optimism.