PS – I just discovered THE most INCREDIBLE Instagram account! Check out @letteredlessons for beautiful inspiration!
I’ll save you the trouble of reading the entire post to figure out this answer.
“Geez, Jennifer. Rude!”
I apologize. Let me expand.
Lately, I found myself in various negative environments. Constant complaining. Constant unhappiness. Constant tension. It has really brought me down.
Then I stopped, took off my judgment glasses, and tried to think about the situation differently. That’s when I realized this other person wasn’t always being negative to intentionally be hateful; I think they don’t realize their attempts at or responses to conversation are negative. Unfortunately, this happens more times than not.
And then the old adage comes back to me:
If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.
There’s no wonder in how these old phrases stay alive; it’s because they’re true!
Think about it. How many times have you unknowingly responded to someone with anything less than 100% positivity? Was it a compliment deflected because you didn’t know how to accept it or felt prideful by doing so? Were you in a bad mood and didn’t realize your tone till it was too late?
With so many things going on in this crazy world we live in, I often feel as if the everyday strife we encounter could be altered with the right attitude. So, let’s talk about how:
1. Learn to accept compliments.
So, this sounds like a no-brainer. After all, someone is speaking something wonderful into you or about you! Unfortunately, in an effort to not seem conceded or self-absorbed, we often reject compliments unknowingly.
“Oh, Jennifer, I love your shirt!”
“Oh, this old thing? Just a Wal-Mart special.” (womp… womp… womp…)
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve responded to compliments with language that downplayed the other person’s thoughts. In no way did I intend to be rude, but there were much better ways I could have responded.
“Well, thank you! That’s so sweet! I bought this thing years ago at Wal-Mart, and it has really stood the test of time!”
2. Make small talk BIG talk.
Feel the need for small talk? No problem. Just make sure you’re building someone or something up in the process.
Instead of, “Ugh! These people around here just don’t know what they’re doing! They don’t have a clue what goes on!”
Try, “Maybe I should have a meeting with so-and-so and update them on how our department is functioning at the moment. Maybe if we communicated recent changes, we can come to some common ground.”
BONUS points if you use this as a time to be obsessively grateful! (“It’s hot today, but I sure am thankful for beautiful skies!”)
3. Make Mondays a chance to start anew.
Mondays. Oh, Mondays. It’s easy to blame the start of a workweek for all of your troubles, but think of Mondays as your opportunity to begin fresh. You get one every single week!
Think of Mondays as New Years celebrations you get to celebrate every seven days. Set goals, be optimistic, and work your fanny off to make it happen! Seven days later… do it again!
4. Avoid social media when you’re having a bad day.
We’ve all had those days. Car runs out of gas, gas station attendant cops an attitude, stump your toe on the bed, accidentally miniaturize your favorite shirt in the dryer, and your co-worker SOUNDS LIKE A HORSE WHEN THEY CHEW! Yep. Been there.
But you know what doesn’t help you or anybody else? Complaining about it all on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Think about it. You’re hurling negativity out into the universe. It’s like lighting a fire and handing every reader gas cans. Not only does it allow you to harp on your own problems, but it’s also cluttering someone else’s newsfeed and bringing them down in the process.
Instead, take a second. Take a deep breath. Embrace the problem. Think through the situation. Formulate a plan of action and carry it out. Then take mental notes to prevent the problem in the future. Get gas when you still have a quarter of tank, throw kindness on that gas station attendant like confetti (she/he probably needs it), donate that shirt and treat yourself to a new one, and for goodness sakes- take your headphones to work and drown that chomper out with Reba Pandora!
Basically, handle it. Change your circumstances. Social media cannot, cannot, CANNOT do that for you.
5. Monitor your tone.
So, this one is tricky, but it’s true that conversation is just as much about HOW you say something as it is about WHAT you say.
I’m guilty. So very guilty. I can whip a tone and an ugly face on you in a heartbeat, yet not actually SAY anything ugly. But, folks, that doesn’t help a thing.
(Get it together, Jennifer!)
Which leads me to my last point… When you can’t say anything nice or when you can say something nice, but can’t say it nicely…
6. Don’t say anything at all.
Self explanatory, right?
From my favorite movie, Pure Country:
Ernest Tucker: People talk too damn much for my taste. Yappin’ about this or that, when he ought to be eatin’, workin’, or sleepin’.
I’d like to think I can make any situation positive in some way, but let’s get real- that’s not true.
So when you can’t think of something nice to say or when you’re going to have a poor attitude when saying something supposedly nice, do the universe a favor…
Keep it to yourself.
Until next time, folks…
Happy POSITIVE travels,