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Updated: Mar 23, 2021

Bad thoughts. Bad words. Cheap talk. We all do it.

It somehow seems imprinted in us to constantly say something negative about a situation or a person, especially a person.

Why are we naturally so inclined to let out what we dislike about someone, even gossip, and sometimes make fun?

It could be about your co-worker, your neighbour, and more often than not, a friend or family member.

I’ve recently started this thing where I just don’t say it.

Whenever I sense that I’m about to blurt something bad out of my mouth, I just remember my intention and don’t say it. I try my best.

Last month, I got into an argument with a staff member at my local store - that being unusual for me, I instantly felt the need to vent it out with my partner ; tell him how this had been unfair and frustrating. Instead I didn’t mention it. I didn’t bring it home.

I’ve got this great housemate who always puts a smile on my face when I see her in the kitchen. I enjoy chatting to her about anything and everything, we share similar values. Sadly, we spend an awful lot of time complaining about how things are annoying around here & how some people make the house share challenging. It seems to have become our main conversation topic. Now I don’t initiate it anymore. I bite my tongue and talk to her about something else. She talks less about it too. Sometimes I slip here and there, but I try my best.

To me, there’s a difference between observing something you dislike, discuss it and take action for improvement versus just complaining.

That said, I do recognise the importance of being able to talk to someone about the unpleasant events going on in our lives, letting our emotions and frustration out, perhaps denounce injustice done to us or point out unacceptable behaviour in others.

It’s necessary and helps us grow as individuals and as a community …

It’s healthy when it’s done for the purpose of a constructive conversation.

I think we should all be willing to aim higher and be disciplined enough to not give into every negative talk we feel like pouring out. It lowers our vibrations and doesn’t serve a purpose.

Instead we could take a moment to let it go, have a quick walk outside or sit in silence eyes closed for a few breaths - anything that might help you to simply get it out of your system on your own, without having to verbalise it to everyone around you.

It can be an opportunity for self-reflection: notice what you could have done differently in that situation. What lesson was brought to you in that moment? Where is your frustration really coming from through that person’s attitude?

Can you change something about yourself?

I found that the more you refrain from saying negative things about people, the more you start to reverse our collective (dysfunctional) habit.

“Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny.” - Lao Tzu

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