The Words We Speak

Each day I post what I hope is a positive or thought-provoking quote or meme on Facebook, usually dealing with something that I have been thinking about or a behavior I am working on in my own life; sort of a meditation ritual for me each morning. Yesterday I posted this…

These words really hit home with me; I returned to school after a a week of Thanksgiving break- a wonderful break in which I enjoyed tons of quality time with my husband and animals in a home that I love, ate plenty of great food, and decorated the house for my favorite holiday.

And yet, I felt depressed when I went to school, back to a job that I absolutely love. To make things worse, when people asked me how my break was, instead of saying the truth, “It was wonderful!”…my first comment was, “It was too short- I’m just not ready to be back yet.”

Hmmm…For someone who writes and talks about gratitude a whole lot, that was pretty out of character- and definitely not the way I want to live. I work hard at keeping a positive attitude each day. It’s not always easy, and many days I fail, but it is important for me to make the effort. I have been in very dark places, and I very much believe that no matter our circumstances, we can choose how we react to a given situation. It goes back to one of my favorite quotes from a professor from undergrad, “Act your way into a new way of thinking.”

I know that deep inside of me is my mother’s tendency to immediately think the worst will happen, to see the dark side. For someone who made so many people smile and feel loved, my sister and I often got to hear the other side as she vented to us- though I always understood, as Mom went through a lot of really tough things in her life. I saw her struggle to find the bright side, to create a happy life out of events that would have crushed most people’s spirit. She was my greatest teacher in so many ways. It is far too easy to slide down into the chasm of negativity, and so I decided that I needed to think more carefully about the words I say before they escape my lips. Words matter- a lot. When we repeat something enough it becomes a part of us, and so if I want to do a better job of living a life based in gratitude, then I need to make sure that my words reflect that. I felt better just making that decision. So…let me try this again. How was my holiday, you ask? My holiday was absolutely wonderful, thank you. How grateful I am for a week to recharge at home with my family and to have the gift of a career that I love to come back to at the end of that week. Life is so good.

There, that’s better.

6 thoughts on “The Words We Speak

  1. Something I have been working on, as well.
    You have made it so clear, how much of a difference our thoughts make,
    with this post.
    Thank you for sharing, Denise. ❤

  2. Yes, but. It’s okay and valuable to honor and even authentically share our limitations. That can be very inspiring for those who are also struggling when asked to exceed their capacity . “It was wonderful! I feel I could use a bit more replenishing of my energy, so I’ll need to be extra gentle with myself as we ease back into the end of the semester. Do you feel that way, too? Maybe we can be gentle together.”

    We are resilient and strong , and even more so when we acknowledge our fragility and share compassion with ourselves. That , too , is another way to model gratitude .

    1. I completely agree, Cathy. That’s why I write so much about my own struggles and limitations in the hopes that by sharing I will help someone. I’m just trying to not let myself slide into letting negative words color the reality of so much to be grateful for in my life. That compassion for self is another thing I am working on. ❤️

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