Saturday, 25 May 2013

If You Can't Say Something Nice...

I hung out wirh a couple of my buddies last night. They were so good to me. I have great, supportive friends. They help me and they reminded once again of the positive power of kind words.

Thumper was right. "If you can't say somethin' nice, don't say nuthin' at all". It is so much easier and simpler to share the light, the kindness in things, than it is to spread the darkness, at least for me. I have seen it so often over the years where people say something negative where it would be just as easy to say something positive, as if the only valid feedback was negative feedback, as if the only useful comment was critique.

Some people seem to live for spreading the darkness. Criticism, harsh words, unkind truths are their stock in trade. These living black holes of emotion seem to gain personal fulfillment from the negative. I think it is easier for them to bring someone down to where they are rather than lift themselves and others up. Being with and around these negative black holes can sap energy like a lightening rod to ground.

There is an insecurity in all of us, a sense of not being good enough. In some people that becomes a feeling that we need to pull others down, the feeling that it is not enough for us to succeed but all others must fail. Yet positive is so much better; spreading the light brings joy and uplifts so many. People know the bad stuff already; there is no need to spread that around. If you are afraid to face your bad stuff you will never be able to focus on the good stuff. If you focus on your worthiness, you will find yourself feeling an ever increasing sense of self-worth.

That insecurity, that lack of self-worth shows up in other ways. We become strident, terrified of being wrong, inflexible and unwilling to concede other points of view. We fail to listen, fail to consider other ideas. We resist change, demand intense control over our living space and emotional space, refuse to allow others in our lives to have the space they need. Our inflexibility makes us incapable; incapable of change, incapable of self-reflection, incapable of true love and kindness. We believe that if we can only make this iron-clad, unchanging world where we are always right, we can find some worth in ourselves.

Despite what you think you can't hide yourself in this iron-clad life; the real you comes out in your words and actions. As Abraham Lincoln famously said, "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time; but you can't fool all of the people all of the time." Eventually, despite your hard work at hiding yourself, you will show up. Life catches up with all of us.

Sometimes we cloak this urgent need to claw down those around us. We call it. "constructive criticism". There is no such thing as constructive criticism; there is just criticism. No amount of negative feedback can be deemed to be positive just because we want to cast it that way. Criticism is just criticism, plain and simple.

Here is an exercise. For today, just for one day, do your best to take every negative statement and recast it. Take every "can't" or "won't" or, my favourite, "shouldn't" and turn it into a "can" or "will". Find a positive way. Do the right thing. Say somethin' nice.


  1. There... and evening drinking IPA and fine malt scotch, smelling two friends smoking his Cuban cigars, and Richard turns into a philosopher!

    Nice one, Richard!

    Really funny watching Richard fill his plate (I mean FILL) with Chinese food, take two bites, and say, "Here's the problem, I am just not hungry any more."
    Conversation continues...
    Richard's plate is empty.
    More conversation...
    Richard is digging in for seconds!
    He may be a little confused, but we do love him for his amusement value.

  2. This research report might help with seeing the loss of appetite issue in a scientific light.

    In fact, I was not hungry. The nutritionist at the ALS Clinic has made a strong point with me; eat even if you are not hungry, eat even if you feel full.

    I am pleased that so far I have been able to follow their direction on this. But it is becoming increasingly difficult to get the calories they want me to get each day.

    In other words, I was not hungry. Yet I ate because I know that the weight loss will happen and if I start losing weight now it will just get worse.

    Plus, I like to eat and since I won't be able to in a year or so, I am going to enjoy it even when I have no appetite for it.


  3. If you can't say anything nice, come and talk to me.......Mae West.