The other day on the twitters, someone I follow re-tweeted this from Yoko Ono:
yokoono: Try to say nothing negative about anybody for three days, for forty-five days, for three months. See what happens to your life.
Now, I’m not a huge fan of Yoko, but I was also taught that if you overlook good advice because of the source, you’re just being silly. We wouldn’t want that! :p
A couple of years ago I gave up complaining for Lent. This went about as well as you can imagine, as far as my ability to stick to it for sustained periods of time, etc., but it was still one of the most useful exercises I’ve undertaken. A colleague of mine gave up criticism that same year, and we’d find ourselves in each other’s offices pretty frequently, saying, “There’s so much I CAN’T SAY right now!! Talk me down!” It was a happy coincidence of timing for us and served as an amazing support group.
Back to Yoko and her tweet: I agree with her here. Negativity is like cancer. It’s bad enough aimed outwardly, but I’ve also been thinking a lot about how it’s impossible to judge or criticize other people without doing the same to yourself – whether you realize it or not, that knife cuts both ways, and you are bringing that same harshness to everything. Complaining and criticizing feed on themselves and then turn on you. Sometimes you can see it right away, or as you ignore it, it builds up and burbles into a toxic mess that will eventually either poison you from the inside or volcanically erupt, usually at the worst possible moment. (*Is* there a good time for a volcanic eruption of toxic mess, really?) Do not want.
There is so much good in the world, and when there’s not, we need to see what good there is even more desperately.
So, thanks Yoko – I’m going to give it a try. And then another, and another. Tomorrow is the beginning of a new month and that seems like a great time to start. I’ll let y’all know when I achieve my first benchmark – three days. Without being negative, let me caution you: it could be a little while.
Anyone else want to join?