An easy habit within our society and culture is to focus on what’s not working, to complain about what you don’t like and to keep telling the story over and over. There’s ample support for this. You see this in the news day after day. The news is all about ratings. People are conditioned to tune into and lament about what’s not working. In recent years, softer and more inspirational human-interest stories are included at the end. Just think of how different things could be if the news cycles were reversed. How would you feel if most of the news was filled with heart-warming stories of human goodness, followed by short snippets of what’s going wrong? My hunch is we might have a stronger urge to be more loving, generous and supportive of others.
The problem with the current focus is that your thoughts and words reinforce what’s happening in your life. A good habit is to tell your negative stories and share your complaints a maximum of three times. Get them out of your system and let them go. As you do this, figure out a way to change your perspective into something more positive. Doing so, will make a huge difference in how things unfold in your life.
It’s important to be authentic and to be honest with yourself. Simultaneously, you can train yourself to acknowledge what you don’t like without dwelling on it and giving it more power. You can do this by repositioning situations into something more positive. You can reverse the downward spin and share a more positive perspective. Or, don’t say anything at all. My mother used to say, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything.” There’s much wisdom in these words.
This month I challenge you to listen to yourself and observe your words and how you position situations. Rather than say something negative, pause and take a few breaths. Think before you speak and only speak in negative terms if you feel you must. Practice neutralizing your “can’ts” and “won’ts” and “shouldn’ts.” Rephrase them in more positive terms about what you can do.
Recently, I heard a house referred to as a “money pit.” The experience is that the owners have been spending a lot of money on unexpected and sometimes emergency repairs since purchasing the house. The story is one that’s been repeated over and over. The problem is that this is also the owners’ reality. I recommended that they stop telling this story, at minimum. Every time they repeat it, they give it more power. Moving forward, I recommended that they create a new vision for this house as they transform it into a cozy and uplifting space. A new mantra might be “I love how my home supports, comforts and delights me in new and unexpected ways. We’re making wonderful improvements and changes.” They more they tell THIS story, the more it will become their experience.
I’d love to hear your experiences about stopping the negative spin and shifting your perspective. If you’d like some help, let me know. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.