One of the tasks I have worked on over the last year of embracing happy, is to be far more conscious of my words. I am more aware of what I say, the words I choose and most importantly, how I say them. My Mom always used to say “Tone of voice!” when she found me shouting at my brother. I never quite appreciated this until I grew up and realised how even a compliment, said with the wrong tone of voice, can sound like an insult. I began to fully appreciate the important of positive words when I became a mother. It’s not possible all of the time but I believe that choosing your words to be as positive as possible can have a remarkable effect on your children and their self-esteem. Let’s have a little practice session…
Negative: Don’t be silly! Why do you suppose Mummy has given you a fork? Use your fork, not your fingers!
Positive: Sweetheart, Mummy has given you a fork. I think it would be a much better choice to eat with a fork.
Negative: Darling, is there any particular reason that you are leaving your clothes all over the floor for Mummy to pick up? Do I look like your slave?
Positive: Darling, you would be helping Mummy out a lot by picking up your clothes & putting them in the laundry basket. Thanks for being so responsible!
Of course, this is not always going to happen but the more that you practice thinking about your words before they fly out of your mouth, the easier it will become to use positive words. Eventually you will just naturally choose a more positive approach. I kind of like to think of it in this way: Would I like to be spoken to in a negative way? What is my response to someone telling me that I am silly and lazy? Is it fair, that just because we are the “adult”, we can speak to our children in such a negative way? I have found that by using more positive words and phrases, my children tend to make slightly different and better choices and often beat me to doing something that I previously might have had to nag them about. Children love praise and recognition for doing good things. Catch them doing good and acknowledge it often and your child will gravitate, more often than not, to doing good.
The use of positive words only applies to YOU as well. I mean, how you choose to speak to yourself. You know you do, whether it’s out loud or in your head but you spend most of your day talking to yourself. Instead of telling yourself what an idiot you are for forgetting to put the bins out on collection day, tell yourself how clever you were to remember JUST in time as you sprint to the end of the driveway in your dressing gown. Tell yourself how lovely it was of you to give the bin men the thrill of seeing a grown woman flying down the driveway in her dressing gown and thus brightening their day. Instead of grumbling over the fact that you have just done the 4th load of laundry thanks to vomiting children x 2 or 3, praise yourself for getting the laundry done so quickly so that your children could be comfortable again and be grateful that you have the opportunity to look after your children.
And finally, how are you speaking to your other half or other friends and family members? Are you bitching and moaning? Are you wallowing in the negative and murky depths of Grumpsville? I certainly don’t mean that you should put on a false front and pretend that everything is sunshine and roses when, in fact, it isn’t. However, you might just find, that as with your children, others will be far more receptive to you if you try to put a more positive spin on things and find the good in the negative that might be gaining steam. Remember that critical phrase that has been a guiding light for me the last year: NOT EVERY DAY IS GOOD BUT THERE IS GOOD IN EVERY DAY!
Starting today and for the rest of this week, make an effort to use positive words only please! Be kind to yourself, be kind to others, think about how others see you and hear you and see if maybe, just maybe, saying things in a different way and choosing your words carefully makes a difference in how others respond to you. I would love to hear more about your results if you are brave enough to make an effort to try! You can do this…if you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make a change! (channelling my inner Michael Jackson “Man in the Mirror”) #embracehappy