I used to have a friend, a novelist, who would often complain about her books, her publisher, her agent. As an aspiring writer, I found this to be really painful to listen to. I thought to myself if only I had a publisher, an agent, a string of books, I would be the happiest girl on the planet! But then I realized that my friend complained about her success (in part) so that other people wouldn’t envy her, resent her. It was like she cast a spell of unhappiness around herself to protect herself. Clever!
There seems to be a prevailing belief that to claim happiness is to jinx it. What? It’s true. Why do we do that? Why, when someone compliments us on the snappy little outfit we’re wearing, we say, “Oh, this old thing?” We’re used to telling lies. We’re trained from early on to say things that are not true in order to please someone else. We do it all the time.
One of the weird ways people socialize is to complain. It goes like this: someone complains about something, maybe their mean boss. The next person has a worse story, the list of complaints grow, get worse, expand, and the next thing you know, someone is working for witchy Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada. It’s an epidemic! People seem to really love the rush they get from topping the last bad story with something even worse. Why do we do that?
My mother used to drive me crazy when she said, “if you can’t say something nice to your brother, don’t say anything at all.” I thought she was nuts. My brother was the torment of my childhood. Although my mother was just trying to mold me into a polite little lady, there was really a deeper truth at work. Language isn’t simply about telling stories. Thoughts are things. Words are magic.
When you realize the words you say create the world you live in, you start to watch what you say. If you really get serious about it, you start to monitor your thoughts. How in the world can I manage my thoughts, you say, there are thousands of them a day! Exactly. There are thousands of them a day, and they are mostly just a string of the same thoughts playing over and over again on a loop. When you start to monitor the things you say because you know you create your world by your words, you start to say nicer things. You start saying nicer things to other people and best of all, you start saying nicer things to yourself.
Affirmations aren’t just fluffy little words we spread around like pink icing on cupcakes. Affirmations are how we start telling a better (truer) story about ourselves and our world. And isn’t that what we really want? Love, C
My two cents: start saying one nice thing to yourself in the mirror everyday and see what kind of magic you can make!
What if someone told you that everything you said, every word out of your mouth especially if you repeated it over and over would come true? Would you be more careful what you said? I have been really aware of what I think and what I say lately and I know it’s hard not to notice “what is.”
There are so many things going on out there that are true. So many things to look at; things that make you feel good and things that make you feel terrible. Why does it seem that the icky stuff is so much easier to focus on? Do we really think we will jinx something if we affirm it? Some people don’t want to think or expect anything good because they don’t want to be disappointed. Really? If you believe things always work out the way they are supposed to –and they do, by the way –then I say why not dream big.
I got the idea for this post after sitting down by the pool in my building. I touched on it a bit in the last post turn it around. One of my neighbors was on her cell phone going on and on about how crappy her life was, complaining about some issue she was having with Comcast and AT&T. Seriously? You’re sitting by a beautiful pool on a beautiful summer day in beautiful wine country, and you’re complaining about your internet provider? My daughter and I were lounging nearby, totally present in the moment, totally enjoying where we were, sitting in one of the top vacation destinations in the world, and we get to live here.
It really made me think, what if we just enjoyed right where we are, in the moment, and looked around for things to appreciate, things to love, and milked them for all they were worth? What if we complimented instead of complained? What if when someone complimented us we just said, “thank you,” instead of trying to talk them out of their admiration and appreciation of us? What if we didn’t have something nice to say about ourselves, someone else or a dilemma we are dealing with we just shut the hell up? I don’t know about you but looking at problems and talking about them incessantly is getting really old. It doesn’t help anything AND it doesn’t feel good, in case it matters.
Last year C, got a purple rubber bracelet from an organization, A Complaint Free World. The idea was to wear the bracelet on one wrist for 30 days. The catch: you could only keep the bracelet on that wrist if you did not let one complaint pass your lips. If it did, you had to switch wrists. At first, you might move the band two or three times a day. Eventually, you might keep in on a whole day . . .or even a whole week! Imagine a whole month. Give it a try, you’ll be amazed how many times you notice yourself being negative and once you notice, you can make a conscious effort to change the way you see things and what you say about them. xo-K
My two cents: Consciously turn whatever you say into a positive and if you can’t, don’t say anything at all.