10 Days Later

You just never know how things might work out.

Yesterday was the last day of my 10 Day Challenge to be kinder and more positive in my thoughts and words. So let's talk about how that went.

Honestly, when my friend and I first started talking about this, I thought it would be easy. I'm generally a very cheerful and even-tempered person and I am usually in a good mood. What I failed to consider, however, is my tendency to be embarrassingly judgmental. Yes, I am an Olympic-level conclusion jumper, too. As you might expect, these two bad habits turned out to be the real challenge.

The first couple of days, I found myself biting back the quick rapier remarks that usually come straight to my mind and mouth. It was an effort to be quiet and let things go. I probably sounded like I had a speech impediment, for all the uhs and half-started words. When I got ready for work in the morning, in the time that I usually spend wishing I had better hair or younger skin or whatever, I tried to think about what I like about myself, instead. After a lifetime of conditioning that told me that liking something about your looks is akin to conceit, it really does take effort to say nice things to yourself. So, I started small. Yes, my hair is incredibly fine and there isn't all that much of it. But it's very soft to the touch, and the softer, chlorine-free water from our well is bringing out a nice color. Hey! Two good things! That's progress.

But a funny thing happened over the course of the days. The words I struggled to choke back, and the habit of looking for what I need to correct about myself just kind of stopped happening. As if these were something that died because I quit feeding them. This is not to say that there is nothing to complain about in life, but I honestly found myself better able to ignore the minor irritations. Obviously, trying to be a more positive and encouraging (to self and to others) person does not make the world a magical Eden. There are always going to be problems and worries. But isn't that the point? With so many real things to be concerned about, why manufacture more by being too quick to see the cloud behind the silver lining?