The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Columns

February 3, 2013

Jesse Wilkerson: Consider having 30 days without a negative word

ANDERSON, Ind. — The new year usually starts out with resolutions that push us to do more or to do better. It often challenges us with an inner hope that we can change a bad habit, create new habits, and even become someone different all together. For years I have been taking inventory of my words. At times I have paid closer attention than others to the things I say.

Negative words kill. OK, maybe not that literal, but they do put a damper on things. There is nothing that short-circuits a vision, a plan, a dream, and or an idea more than negative words. Most people say things in conversation that they don’t even realize. What is the root of negative comments, thoughts and actions? Have you ever sat down and wondered what causes someone to use their words to tear down another individual?

This week I started a new personal challenge. My thought was to take the next 30 days to say only positive things. When the opportunity presents itself to say something negative I will do my best to say nothing or replace the negative words with a positive response. For example, someone may say, “Well, the weather sure is terrible today,” to which I may reply, “Thank God it is nice enough to get out without to much trouble.”

The exercise has already affected the way I feel. It is not just the words we speak but the repetition of the same bad, negative, inappropriate things we say for the sake of conversation that takes people way off track. I have read a couple of studies about the impact that words have on us. I have also witnessed the transforming effect words have by watching children. They respond to the things we say to them on a regular basis. A child who is built up and encouraged sees his or her place with more confidence than one who is constantly talked down to or always beat up with the words of an adult.

This isn’t for everyone. There are some people who are so discouraged by life’s missed opportunities, failed ventures, disappointing moments that they dare not have a positive thought. Some people wouldn’t know what to do if they couldn’t talk down about their boss, spouse, children, classmates or co-workers. This is not about liking or disliking someone. This is about being a source of positive energy and not draining the life out of people around you. Take 30 days and tell your spouse everything positive you see in them. Do the same for your kids. See if the week goes better for you.

Clean the air at the office, church, school and home by giving back something that will inspire others to be better, do better and go farther.

Jesse J. Wilkerson is the owner of a local architecture and design firm. His column appears here every other Monday.

 

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