February 14, 2013

Giving up the negativity

(This is by no means a religious blog, but the Lenten season has inspired me to set some new goals, so I hope you don’t mind the tangent.)

It was lucky that I started my day today with a VBarre class at Classic Pilates or I might never have had the time/energy to work out at all! The day flew by with barely time for a bathroom break, and I had so much stuff on my to do list and in my inbox that I was actually dismayed when the end of the day came. Had the time really gone by that fast? But I wasn’t done yet! Regardless of how much work I had left, though, tonight I couldn’t change my plans. It’s Ash Wednesday, so I needed to go to church. My online research didn’t yield any Catholic churches in the Dallas area that were doing services in English after 6:30pm (though oddly enough, there were tons of Spanish services later in the evening?), so an early dismissal was required.

Although I was being a somewhat good Catholic by going to church, I wasn’t fasting (in part because of my recent Food is Fuel mantra) and I also hadn’t figured out if I was going to give anything up for Lent. Like many people, I often use Lent as a time to give up something that will create a healthy change in my life (caffeine, alcohol, juice, etc) – kind of a second chance at New Year’s resolutions. I’ve heard many times that Lent really isn’t supposed to just be about giving something up; it’s also about adding good things to our lives. Unfortunately, this is something that I honestly often neglect when it comes to picking something for Lent.

For New Year’s this year, I took on the goal of completing one challenge a month. In January, I took on the challenge of adding a workout every single day – and am now continuing to do that through the end of March. For February, I’m working on giving up indulgent food portions and eating more moderately. I still wanted to do something for Lent, but it would have to be completely different than the health-related goals I had already set. Perhaps something more mental / happiness-related?

I’ve been pretty stressed out lately, and I’ve come to realize that lately I’ve gotten into the terrible habit of channeling that negative energy in bad ways. For example, there are a few people in my life that I have to interact with, but I have found myself hating our interactions, not having anything to say, and just wanting to get away. I’ve noticed this for a while, but for whatever reason, I haven’t bothered to care – instead making the unconscious choice to plow ahead with my to-do list instead of stopping to forge a friendship. Big oops to that one! I couldn’t figure it out, because I’m usually far from antisocial, until my friend Blake pointed out that perhaps I was taking out my frustration with other things on them – and that was why I couldn’t connect. Totally unfair of me, and something that definitely needs to be fixed. I don’t like how bitchy my thinking has become, and I’d love to change it.

So for Lent this year, I am giving up having negative/judgmental thoughts about those people, and I’m adding some relationship-building and connection-making. Blake reminded me that you can always find something in common with someone, and I’m kind of ashamed that I hadn’t bothered to figure out exactly what that is in this case. Time to get on it! I think making a conscious effort to be nicer will go a long way, and there’s an added bonus of it being something that my mental health has needed for a long time anyway. I don’t like disliking anyone! 🙂


3 thoughts on “Giving up the negativity”

  1. Very inspirational…we all can do with a little more charity when it comes to accepting people as they are…because heaven know, we can’t change people! Everyone has some teeny, tiny kernal of goodness waiting to be unearthed, if only we invest the effort.

  2. Very nice – I like the challenge a month thing too. Part of my “being more flexible” thing for Lent also has a portions that has me trying to be more kind and nice to people. I know that sometimes I just get angry with people for no reason and resentful that they are making me change plans or whatever. So I am trying to be happier and nicer to certain people who I know I tend to have lack of patience. I think the fact that we are trying is a good start!

  3. Thanks, Kel and J! I was a little worried this post made me sound like a bad person, so nice to hear that others feel the same way and aren’t perfect either 🙂

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