By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
We have a list of household rules on our refrigerator, and the first states that “only kind words are spoken here.”
It’s more a goal than a rule, since both my husband and I routinely break it. We have discovered since posting the list that speaking only kind words takes great effort.
Without any ill intention, we find ourselves criticizing the summer heat, our hectic schedules, the dog’s incessant scratching, the high price of gasoline, or the comments of politicians with whom we disagree.
And sometimes we do so with ill intent – in other words, fully aware of our pettiness. We gossip or sneer or poke fun of people who, in all likelihood, we probably just fail to understand. Yep, we can be mean.
But it’s easy to be mean. It’s easy to complain.
It actually feels kind of good. And I think we sometimes trick ourselves into thinking our negative statements somehow improve the world – or at least our place in it.
But I realize these words carry weight, and that weight has made our home a heavy and burdensome place to live. It actually taints the air or the energy or whatever you want to call it.
It almost seems as though our negative words, once spoken, attract more negativity. And it grows, like a living organism. It fills space and gets hungry, demands we feed it with more criticism and hate.
I have to wonder if the reverse is true, that if we speak positive words we can attract positive energy into our home and cultivate a happier place. Maybe we can grow a different kind of creature, one that feeds on love instead of hate.
So we’re trying to clean our space of negativity and replace it with the good stuff. Oh man, it’s tough. I have to bite my tongue some days not to utter a disparaging remark about what I perceive as bad, bad, bad or just plain dumb, dumb, dumb.
And if it’s true for my home, then I wonder if it’s true for the world. I wonder if every mean or ugly thing we say goes out and infects our environment. It attracts more meanness and ugliness. And so on and so forth.
We can be such petty people sometimes. And when it comes right down to it, we’re really depriving ourselves of joy. Because we fail to appreciate the gifts we’ve been given in life. Or we fail to understand the people we attack. And instead of learning something about these people or about ourselves, we throw up a wall. On one side is us; we’re perfect, right? On the other side is them; they’re stupid, of course.
I’ve thought it of others. I know others think it of me. But we’re all sharing the same space and striving for the same basic things: food and shelter, love and understanding. We want to be happy. We want our children to succeed.
I don’t always agree with the way some people pursue these goals, but I know that criticizing this won’t help them and won’t help me.
So I try to bite my tongue, and find a kind word to speak. At least at home, at least when the refrigerator list reminds me, at least when I’m up for the challenge of being a better me.
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or firstname.lastname@example.org.