Have you ever hear the saying, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all?”
I grew up hearing that, mostly when my brothers and I would get into our little sibling arguments which would invariably melt down to frustrated name calling. Today, as a parent of elementary aged children I day dream of a household where the children speak only loving words of encouragement and helpfulness … (ha ha ha ha ha ha ha… oh, I’m laughing so hard I have a tears)… as a result, I have uttered my mother’s phrase on more than one occasion
I realize that, I have about as much control over what my children say and do as I do over what my co-workers say and do… however, my job as a parent is to make sure that my children know the RIGHT thing to say or do. At work, I don’t have that responsibility at all. (thankfully)
I do, however, also have a responsibility to myself to make sure that I speak to myself nicely.
It’s a good rule of thumb.
IF YOU DON’T HAVE SOMETHING NICE TO SAY, DON’T SAY IT.
I understand that I can be a shining beacon of light or a black hole of despair. In both cases I will continue to exist, I will find some joy, I will have a life… My point is that I have a choice. Every day, every hour, every moment… I can change how I am speaking to myself about situations, circumstances and other people. I can choose to be a positive energy or a negative one.
Recently I read a powerful quote from Mother Teresa, “People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Love them anyway. If you do good, people may accuse you of selfish motives. Do good anyway. If you are successful, you may win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway. People who really want help may attack you if you help them. Help them anyway. Give the world the best you have and you may get hurt. Give the world your best anyway.”
To me, she is saying…you can not worry about how other people will react or
view you… You have no control over what other people do… You do what is right… You act with honor, integrity, morality and be a positive force and don’t worry if other people don’t commend you, award you, or even like you… You can not control other people and their actions or opinions. You control you. I also hear her saying that I should expect these things and therefore shouldn’t use them as excuses not to do what’s right.
It’s a challenge to be a light to yourself.
And now we’re down to the nitty gritty.. and we have dispensed with needing other people to “make us happy”… how can we help ourselves be happy and content.
Learn how to speak to yourself so that you can lift yourself up every morning.
The first step is turning all negative language around so that it’s positive. It sounds simple and with a little practice it will be simple. At first, you may find it challenging. My biggest challenge was literally recognizing all of the areas in my life when I would talk myself down. Tell myself I couldn’t do something or shouldn’t try something.
Today, I challenge you to remove the following negative words from your inner conversation. No, Don’t, Won’t, Can’t.
Your Normal Thought
Your Changed Thought
|It’s won’t work||I’ll try it and see how I can get this to work|
|I don’t like …||I wonder if I will like this if I …|
|I can’t stand my job||My job is a challenge and it’s worth the paycheck|
|I can’t lose weight||Today I’ll try to cut back on one thing see how that goes|
|No||Yes (I know it seems silly, but I really mean to say, rather than NO, offer yourself something that is a YES)|
|I’m overwhelmed with work||I am feeling like I’m not ontop of everything I should be, how can I change that today|
|It’s not my fault||I’m in control of what I do, I choose to move forward regardless of whether (so and so) supports me or helps me.|
|I can’t do it||I’ll try and if I have a problem, I’ll try to figure out a work around.|
Will you try that? Today? Will you decide that today is going to be a great day, a positive day and that you will try to catch your negative thoughts and turn them around into something positive?
Perhaps you can pre-prepare for events and activities that normally sour your mood or give you time to negative self talk yourself.
Personally, I changed HOW I drive to work. In the past, I would drive to work and use that time to think about things. I realized that in many cases I was using that time to beat myself up about something that I hadn’t handled correctly … in some cases over 20 years ago!
I decided to listen to books while I drive to work. While I don’t care to read non-fiction books, I have found that I enjoy listening to them while I drive. I feel like I am educating myself and moving forward towards a goal. I select books that are specific to my industry and business, so that I am broadening my view.
It’s calming. It relieves a great deal of the stress in the mad dash of trying to get to the office … because I am enjoying myself and I really don’t want the time to end, I am relaxed. Other drivers are no longer my competition for space on the road, I am more than happy to let them in first, as it will give me more time with my book.
This is a small change… that has had a monumental effect on my life.
I discovered my negative self talk was mostly myself challenging myself to a fight. As I move forward with my business and break out of my comfort zone to reach success… a small inner voice, some call the monkey brain or the devil on your shoulder, tried to put up the obstacles in an effort to keep the status quo.
This little devil would bring up situations from long ago to say, “see you can’t do this because…” or I would remind myself of an embarrassing moment as if to say, “you can’t succeed because…”.
Now, I view it as my job to speak nicely to myself.
If your little red devil persists, it’s time to break out the guy dressed in white. Sit him/her firmly on your shoulder and go over all of the reasons why it CAN and WILL work. All of the reasons why YOU ROCK and YOU ARE AWESOME.
Being nice to yourself means, starting each day putting that positive little white presence on your shoulder and looking to that part of yourself about yourself all day long.
One more challenge for you. Thankfulness. I know this is going to sound corny and that’s ok. I love this part of my day and it really helps me to put my thoughts and feelings into perspective. I spend a few moments each morning smiling and thinking about the things for which I am personally thankful. From snuggling with the kids to my first hot cuppa coffee… it all gets a nod from my happy smiling brain!
It is as simple as starting the day announcing to yourself in the shower… I am so thankful for hot water…
then I am so thankful for this minty toothpaste (silly I know)
I am so thankful for my kids all getting dressed without an argument. (I am ignoring the argument over cereal… and focusing on the positive only)
I am thankful for the lovely sunrise (I am ignoring the fact that I am viewing the sunrise through my windshield as I drive to work)
I am thankful for the warm toasty heat on my feet as I drive
You get the idea. right? It’s all about where I put my attention…
You can choose to be happy or miserable.
You are enough. You are awesome!
Have a great day!