Have you ever monitored your daily bitching?
I recently tried a bitch-free month where I was forbidden to speak or write in negative terms about anyone. Oh, how virtuous and high horsey of you, I hear you groan. Perhaps my motivations began being slightly high horsey, but what I discovered about the power behind trash talk was bigger than I thought.
Let me say, it was an extremely challenging mission and took colossal amounts of will and determination to curb my relentless enthusiasm for negative natter. Initially I thought that eliminating my trash talk about other people would be as simple as just stopping the behaviour, but then it dawned on me that some relationships I had with certain people were based on trash talk. It didn’t seem like bitching and if we stretched the truth we could certainly say we were just ‘bouncing ideas about other people off each other’.
Yet the truth of it was, it was negative and served no one, especially not us. It was a petty waste of time born from some shameful attempt at trying to make us feel better about ourselves by judging other people.
Beyond the obvious sentiments that bitching is no good for anyone, and that women will never gain equality until we stop talking about each other behind each other’s backs; I discovered much more.
After attempting to stop engaging in any negative speak about people, I began to censor all of my communication. “Does this sound negative?”…“could that be construed as bitching?” It wasn’t just people I had to stop talking about, I realised it was everything: events, work situations, family matters and even my depressing view of current politics. Analysing the tone and content of my texts, emails and phone calls was a very sobering exercise. Even when I was not speaking negative about anyone, a hint of complaint, blame and judgment was lurking and wanting to nuzzle into conversations. This was huge.
The ‘aha’ moment came to me when after just a few days of not speaking negatively about things; my attitude began to change about my life in current time. My world became a nicer place.
I am not one who believes that we should only have positive thoughts. An ability to judge the world around us is a survival skill that no one should abandon. However, there comes a point when our addiction to negativity could potentially be the cause of us not getting what we truly want.
“If we fall into the habit of bitching and whinging, we start to believe our own spin, this then shapes our brain so we then process all of the input into our brain through a negative bitching lens,” says psychologist Jodi Nilsson.
So, it’s by no means some mystical energetic realm that by positive thoughts bring positive outcomes, but something more simplistic. We do create our own reality via our own thoughts.
If you find yourself judging, bitching or complaining, just stop for a while and see what happens.
Do you think society bitches and complains too much?
Deanna Coleman is the founder of eco news and sustainable food website Cook My Way.