Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Noticing Negativity

I have spent the last few days really paying attention to what I say and do. Some of my negativity I have known about for awhile, for example, the idle chatter that runs through my head when things aren't going the way I want. That subtle negativity is probably the hardest to switch around. What I have discovered though is that there is another type of negativity in my life. This negativity is actually more obvious and easier to banish. This negativity is expressed in my words and actions.

Our family practices consensual living. Our kids are equal members of the family who are allowed to have and express their own thoughts and feelings. They make real decisions and have equal say in family decisions. When we have problems, we all work together to find solutions. Of course, there are times that I find the others in my family annoying! Sometimes this annoyance becomes negativity. Little complaints here and there add up! It is OK to recognize that a situation isn't working and needs to be fixed if possible, but it is not OK to generate random negativity about either the situation or the people involved. If I find the behavior of one of my family members annoying, I have two choices. I can decide to just accept it with goodwill as being the quirk of a family member, or I can try to change it. (Ask the person cheerfully to stop, tell the person that it is bothering me and help them to brainstorm other places to do it/things to do, etc.) There is no need to be negative. It doesn't help anything!

Another area of negativity I have noticed is my behavior, thoughts, and feelings towards our pets. We have three cats and one Guinea pig, and a stray cat that doesn't exactly belong to us but is hanging around. The cats never like the change of weather or even worse the change of the seasons. The start acting erratically, and they get needy! I love each of our pets, but they can be annoying. They like to sit in front of my computer monitor and climb on the kitchen counters when I am trying to cook! Instead of getting negative about it, lately I have been seeing the humor in the situation and have been just removing the cat with gentle words and then positively gone on with my day. It makes a world of difference in how I feel!

The third area of negativity that I have been focusing on is just the random little things. It is surprising how often we let little things get us in a bad mood, a mosquito, dirty dishes, nothing I want to wear clean, a slammed door. The negativity that little things create can build up to mood altering proportions taking days that could be filled with joy and turning them into days we can't wait to end. By paying attention to my actions and words, I have been turning negativity around! I have found if I consciously change my words and actions, a change in thoughts automatically occurs.

How do I create this change? Well, if the situation I don't like is something I can reasonably fix, I do that first, cheerfully! If it is something I'd rather tolerate or don't have any choice about, I make sure that I see the humor in the situation, and then I don't let it get me down. I work hard to remove complaints and whining. I see the positive that there is. It is not always easy to face annoyances with positivity, but it is worth it to me!

Coming soon...remaining positive in the face of others negativity.

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