I have been experimenting with my behavior for the past year or so. I have tried changing my negative thoughts and feelings into more positive thoughts and behaviors. It took some time and effort, but I think I have made progress. However, like everyone, I continue to be a work in progress.
Negativity becomes a habit. So often, we spend our time complaining and lamenting over what is wrong, what we don’t like, and what isn’t working in our lives. Like foul language, overeating, or biting one’s nails, being negative becomes a bad habit. Like all bad habits, the bad habit of negativity can be broken with time, effort, and mindfulness.
Do you know that it takes the same amount of effort to be positive and kind as it does to be negative and hurtful? It’s true. For many of us, being positive and kind feels like it takes more effort. Why is that? I’m not sure why complaining comes so easily, but if we flip the script, it takes no more effort to be positive than it does to b!@#%. I have been practicing being positive, and positivity has become a habit, just like being negative. It takes thinking before I speak, reassessing my thoughts, and verbalizing the positive thought I have formed.
At first, it was an effort for me even to identify when I was being negative. This part of the process probably took the longest. However, once I became accustomed to telling myself, “Hey, that’s a negative reaction! Now flip that reaction into something positive,” the process became easier. It helped that I have a mindful and very aware thirteen-year-old ready to call me on the carpet for my negative thoughts. Having a mindful and aware thirteen-year-old was my primary motivation for flipping my internal script. The most noticeable thing I found to be that once I began focusing on the positive, I felt better in my head. I felt lighter and less worried. This started a snowball effect.
When things didn’t go as planned, I noticed I was less inclined to overreact. I also noticed that I have a profound peaceful feeling that everything will be okay. Becoming angry, agitated, worrying, fretting, and melting down did not improve the issue’s outcome. If anything, it intensified the problem. After a while, I didn’t even feel the need to have such a negative response. I am not saying I don’t have feelings of frustration, anxiety, or anger anymore. I just find myself reacting differently. I find myself taking a “how can we fix this” approach over the “Oh my gosh, this is the worst thing ever!” approach. I feel like it has made a difference in my well-being.
Also, I find myself viewing those around me in a more positive light. It’s easier for me to give compliments or say something nice to someone. It is also easier for me to tell those around me that I appreciate them and I am grateful they are in my life. Kindness and positivity are like a balm for the injured. The thing is, making someone else feel appreciated also makes me feel better. Kindness is a medicine that works for the giver and the receiver. We’ve all read the phrase “Kindness doesn’t cost a thing,” and it’s true. It costs nothing to be kind, but the reward is phenomenal.
My latest experiment is to challenge myself to show kindness to at least two people daily. I am limited to who I interact with in person. Often, it is just my bib overall wearing wonder buns and my bean. Being kind to my bean is a no-brainer. However, I try to tell my husband something positive at least once a day. For example, yesterday, I showered using the new lavender body wash. I was blown away by the body wash and the scent of the lavender essential oil. I made sure to tell my bib overall wearing creative genius that I am in love with the body wash, and he did an amazing job creating it. It took nothing for me to share a positive thought with him. It put a smile on his face, and I felt good about making him feel good. With my limited interaction with people face to face, I am making an effort to reach out to people when I think of them.
For example, I remembered one of my beloved soap family members would have to endure a tough day. Yes, I sent positive thoughts out for her to have the strength the face the challenges the day presented, but I took it a step further and texted her my good wishes. It took just a few minutes to tell her she was in my thoughts, and I was pulling for her. I felt better knowing I had shared my positive thoughts with her, and hopefully, she felt better knowing someone was thinking of her during a difficult time. I also texted a friend facing a challenging problem to let her know I believe in her and know she has what it takes to make it through a difficult situation. It cost me nothing to tell these wonderful people that I am thinking of them and to share my feeling that everything will be okay. Is it an over-the-top gesture? No. It’s simple, small, and heartfelt, but I hope it makes a difference.
We never know the challenges the people we encounter are facing. The simple act of smiling at someone, letting someone out in traffic, telling someone they are doing a good job, thanking someone for helping you, or letting someone know they are in your thoughts can make a world of difference. I see the kindness you, dear reader, show us make us feel better. It feels good to feel appreciated, to be told what you do matters, and to know that people think about you. So, thank you, dear reader, for your kindness, and please know we appreciate you.
As always, stay safe, be smart, try your own experiment with kindness, and keep washing your hands.