Have you ever monitored the things you say and noticed the number of negative comments you make? If you haven’t, I encourage you to do so because negative comments not only hurt the people targeted, but negative comments give off a mist-like vapor that gets caught by the wind and spreads, making it more likely that the people around us will chime in and add to the negative rant. When this happens, before you know it there is a deep, ugly pit of negative crap that will stick around long after the conversation ends. That’s right, the effects of negative talk linger. Think about this and imagine it’s you:
You just had lunch with a couple of your co-workers where you ripped up your boss, some of your customers and also some of your other co-workers who of course were not at lunch with you. There were laughs at the expense of these other folks, a few exasperated sighs of disbelief, several attacks on how things are being done back at the office as well as the people doing the work. For an entire hour the conversation was filled with criticism, complaints, and a plethora of negative barbs!
Now you are on your way back to work and you get a call from one of the customers who you just “had” for lunch. After being part of this negative orgy for the past hour, you find that you have a lot less patience for the customer than you know is wise. You have to work very hard to keep your frustration from showing and you can tell it isn’t working. With your heart rate climbing and your breathing becoming more and more shallow, you deal with the customer and then slam down the phone. “Stupid customer!” you exclaim. Frustrated and in a knot, you let out a big sigh.
Then, the phone rings and it’s your spouse and he or she wants to talk further about whether or not to get that new puppy you discussed this morning at breakfast. Oh my goodness! Even though at breakfast time you really wanted to give this matter serious consideration, because of how the mist of negativity has covered you getting a new puppy now seems like an outrageous idea. You respond by barking back that “A stupid puppy is the last thing we need!” and then toss the phone aside. Again, frustrated and in a knot, you let out an even bigger sigh than before.
Now the phone rings and it’s your teenager…
I’m sure you get the point I am trying to make. When we choose to engage in negative talk our world becomes negative and we become negative people. Even when we don’t participate, but just hang around people who choose to be negative, we still feel the negative impact. It’s like walking into a room of people who are smoking. Whether you smoke or not, when you leave you will have the smell of smoke on you.
Our words have power. It’s good to take notice of how much we engage in negative talk.