I'm realizing I may have a problem with negativity. It's not so much that I'm a negative person. In fact, I'm actually quite an optimist and idealist overall. My problem is more with negative comments, snide remarks, and criticisms flying out of my mouth way too easily. I truly don't realize I'm doing it, but others do, and it's not my best quality. I also tend to be pretty stubborn, so I've resisted the notion that I might want to actually do something about it - something to make myself more aware of it, and curb it.
Then a few consecutive events happened:
I got into one of those general relationship disagreements with Mr. Ladd the other night, and he brought up again how irritiable I sometimes sound, and how critical I can be of him. I resisted that idea for the most part, but agreed to pay attention to it.
Then this morning, my very first conversation with him was to dramatically complain I would get nothing done today, since he had (graciously) arranged for two A/C and water heater estimates, and the lawn guy was coming so there would be a few interruptions to my schedule. He told me to go to the coffee shop or library then, but that he really didn't want to hear me complain about it. He had a point.
I sulkingly turned on my computer screen, and the first thing I read was this month's challenge from Laura at Hollywood Housewife. She is challenging herself to utter nothing negative for the month of April, and she's giving herself some incentive to do it.
The next thing I read was this post about focusing on the good things from Kelle Hampton at Enjoying the Small Things, and this line punched me in the gut...
"My, how easy it is for all of us to give notice to the bad things--to add them up, to give them thought, to wait for them to happen and fear their arrival."
The universe clearly wanted my attention, and made me realize maybe I should start paying attention to this thing I don't realize I'm doing.
It's our 9th wedding anniversary on April 15th, and I thought it might be a great time to focus on being more positive, particularly in my marriage. So I've created a no negativity challenge of my own, inspired by Hollywood Housewife's version. I've filled a jar with wine corks. Many of the corks have memories from when we drank that particular bottle of wine written on them. There's one from our honeymoon in Niagara Falls, and from the bottle we had on Valentine's Day, 2008. They are great reminders of all the positive we have in our relationship. So, for every negative comment I make to or in the presence of Mr. Ladd between now and the 15th, I will move a cork over to the empty jar. For every cork in the negativity jar, I will donate $5 to AZ RESCUE (an organization who rescues cats and dogs from euthenasia at the county pounds). We normally volunteer with and give to this organization anyway, but this will go above and beyond, and come out of my personal spending budget. Every cork left in the original jar, will be $5 toward treating Mr. Ladd to something special.
While I think being real and honest is important, framing things positively often changes my perspective on them, and complaining or nagging is never attractive. I often complain and make things more dramatic than they need to be in an effort to make excuses for my own behavior. I also think I often save all of my negativity for my husband, so I'm focusing on my conversations with him at first. I don't want to be known as whiny and critical. I don't want to be so easily sucked in to criticizing and poking fun, so I'm putting my money where my overly negative mouth is. It may be a quiet month.
Wanna join me? Need to work on something else? Tell me about it.