No negativity for 30 days. Not sure how this is going to turn out but my hope is that by making this commitment a public one I will 1) be more likely to follow through for the whole 30 days, 2) receive encouragement and advice from my friends and maybe even 3) inspire others to reduce negativity in their own lives. Whether you just want to be entertained by my odd experiences and thoughts or want to join me in my pursuit of an even more positive lifestyle, I hope you’ll enjoy this experiment.
While scanning my new book For Women Only: the Bible Study by Shaunti Feldhahn I saw that one of her first recommended exercises is to go for a whole week without saying anything negative to or about your husband. My first thought was, “What a piece of cake!” I am blessed with a fabulous husband, great marriage and have been working for years on being a more encouraging, positive person.
Unfortunately, I was born with a rather critical nature. I’m an expert at finding flaws and improving efficiency, which in some ways is great, but the truth is that most people really don’t want unsolicited advice (most especially my husband). I also like rules and have definitely expressed negative opinions when those rules aren’t followed. Some of my rules are important (e.g. lock the vehicle because we live in a high crime area) while others are not (e.g. all the coffee cup handles are to face towards the right and back of the cabinet). So I realized that I do have some work to do in this area and it’s probably not going to be as easy as I first thought. Thankfully God has been working on my heart for many years and He is helping me to be more of an encourager than a criticizer.
After praying on it and thinking about it I decided that a negativity diet was in order. Not only will I endeavor not to say anything negative to or about my husband. I will be trying to not say anything to or about anyone. I will also be working to squash negative thinking and increase positive thinking. While the book recommended a week, I think 30 days is a more appropriate time frame (most experts say it takes 21 days of consistently doing your new habit to make it stick and I figured it would take at least a week before I was close to consistent) and if I need longer I can always extend it. After all, it’s my own experiment. I will be praying for guidance in this area for myself and for anyone who decides to join me. May God grant us all success in overcoming negativity and increasing our positive, encouraging thoughts.!
One of the main exercises I’ll be doing is monitoring my own self talk. When a negative thought pops in my head I will stop it and replace it with a more positive thought. It didn’t take long to need this exercise. I went to pop some paper in the indoor recycling bin and it was overflowing. The house rule is that once it is full you take the full bag out and replace it with a new empty bag. This way it never spills and doesn’t take up too much space in the kitchen (if you have ideas on a better system I’d love to hear it!). My first thought was definitely negative. Then I stopped myself and realized that it really isn’t that hard to take the recycling out myself and my husband was probably just super busy this morning. After all, he gets up at 4 am, feeds the cats, deals with the litter box, and dashes off to work before I’m even awake. Perhaps he had to deal with a hairball situation or something and was running late. I reminded myself of all the wonderful things he does and in seconds my good mood was back.
It’s easy to stew on a negative thought and let it grow in importance in our minds, but life is so much more pleasant when we squash those negative thoughts and focus on more positive thoughts.
Theme Verse for Today
Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.
Day one was really a half day. I’m sure I’ll have more learning experiences to share on day two, which will be my first full day on my negativity diet. If you want to join me I’d love to hear about your experiences too. May God bless you in every way!
For Women Only: the Bible Study by Shaunti Feldhahn