Happiness is hard work. Most of us want to wake up every day, ready to take on the world. But often, other stuff gets in the way. Sometimes these events are obvious, but sometimes it’s the hidden ones that are capable of turning a good day into a rather miserable one.
Sneaky Words That Will Ruin Your Day
There are obvious words that bring the onslaught of a negative thought cycle, but it’s the little sneaky ones you have to watch out for. Pay attention, notice how often they appear. Track them and see how they affect you. Using your favorite app or notebook, make three columns: 1) Notice 2) What’s the Effect? and 3) Replace It
Then, watch change happen!
#1 What If?
These two words, when related to fear, are a screenwriter’s favorites. You become the author capable of creating scenes for a teenage horror movie.
If you want to imagine scenes, start a blog or write down your fears. Otherwise, give up this phrase. If you can’t, convert it into something good. Try saying: What if everything turns out okay?
#2 I Can't.
If you want to stop yourself from being productive, then roll out the welcome mat and let these words in. However, if you want to free yourself from the chains of emotional paralysis, remove this combination from your vocabulary immediately.
It’s going to be hard, but I’m going to push through the challenge. It’ll be good for me and make me stronger. I need this experience.
#3 How could you ________ ? (fill in the blank)
Hello Me! These ego-based words will guarantee frequent disappointments. When you expect people to behave a certain way, the situation becomes all about you. What gets left behind? Empathy for the difficulties the other person might be experiencing.
Before reacting from your ego, take a moment to step into the other person's shoes and think about the pain, suffering, or difficult situation they might be facing.
#4 Always, Never, Worst, Ever
These words are the mantra of drama queens (and kings). Everything gets bigger than it really is. “You always do that, you never do what I want, that’s the worst thing you could say, when will it ever get better?” are just a few terms of exaggeration that cause desperation.
Try to use words that open up to positive possibility: sometimes, maybe, or occasionally.
"Why?" seems like a harmless question, but it can be a dead-end word that shuts out happiness by causing instant frustration, dissatisfaction, disappointment, and frustration. Beware: It is the sneakiest of all words!
"Why" is a counterproductive word when….
1) …it’s related to behavior. There is no satisfactory answer. When was the last time you asked someone why they behaved a certain way, and you were pleased with their answer? It puts people on the defensive, causing them to put on their boxing gloves, or bring out the claws. We fight back, become distant, or punitive.
When resolving conflict or questioning people; think before you ask why. If you feel wronged and want the other person to see his faults, sit down and have a chat. Discuss your concerns and express your point of view respectfully.
2) ….it’s related to events. As before, there is rarely a satisfactory answer. Sometimes bad things just happen that cannot be explained. Searching for answers can cause an abyss of negative thinking that is difficult to escape. Instead of asking why, try focusing on what now. Take a realistic look at what your next move should be.
The warmth of a loving friend, support group, or spiritual leader can comfort you through the challenging times. Dig deep to find your strength, courage, and hope in order to manage the situation.
Remember: Often you're aware of your words when speaking to others, but the most valuable words to pay attention to are the ones you speak to yourself.