384 days of loving more!
When I decided to stop yelling at my kids last January, I quickly discovered that in order to keep the yelling at bay, I needed to start looking at myself. I realized that I couldn’t excuse all my yelling because of my son’s behavior, but that I had to start taking ownership of my own. I had to admit that sometimes I yelled not because they were actually bad, but because I was just in a bad mood. I had to admit that sometimes I yelled not *just*because my kids were balancing on the back of the couch, but because I was overwhelmed and out of balance. I had to admit that sometimes I yelled not because I didn’t love my kids, but because I didn’t love my body or myself that day. I had to admit that sometimes I yelled because I had an overall negative attitude and it impacted my thoughts and actions!
Yes, one of my most powerful lessons I learned was how much my thinking impacting my actions. Before the challenge, I dwelled a lot on negative situations (like a fight with a friend) and this just put me in a cranky, ready to yell at anything, mood. Before the challenge, I often told my husband about all the negative things my boys did during the day instead of all the positive moments. This of course just made me feel more frustration with them than love and that too just set me up to yell. Before the challenge, I often started the day thinking to myself negative thoughts about my weight and ability to parent; this thinking of course was self-fulfilling and demolished any chance to feel confident or successful that day.
All this negative thinking? Well, it did me no good! The more negative things I thought, the more negative I felt. The more negative I felt, the more negative things I saw in my kids and myself. The more negative things I saw, the more negative I felt. Oh the cycle just went on and on and on! Of course the only part of this cycle missing is that with negative thoughts and negative feelings came negative actions like….yelling! An interesting thing happened on my journey though – when I stopped yelling, when I removed the negative action, I felt lighter, I felt happier, I felt more positive. And when I felt more positive, I started thinking more positive. Well it turned out that positive thinking, acting and feeling is contagious!!! Once I felt it, I wanted more; I loved it!
It was so easy to fall in love with how great it felt telling my husband all the positive things my boys did at night. (And it was so easy to not yell the next day because I was filled with more love and positive energy!)
It was so easy to fall in love with starting the day saying “oh, my jeans don’t fit so well, but I am trying and I am proud I am trying to get more fit and I am happy because my life is good, regardless of how my jeans fit today!” (And this thinking of course gave me the confidence to eat healthier and feel more positive energy.)
AND it was so easy to fall in love with all the new positive actions I was naturally inspired to do as a result of not yelling. Not yelling made me more positive and I naturally wanted to do more random acts of kindness, say “I love you more,” and give more hugs.
Yeah, positive thinking is pretty powerful. I have always heard that to be true, I have always believed it, but this past year I proved it to myself. There are days when I do let a little negative slip in, when I can’t turn on all my positive vibes. And when those days come, I try to jump start my positive attitude by doing something nice for someone or saying something positive to my kiddos, even if they are screaming at the moment and I want to scream back!
The other morning started out rough. I buckled my boys into the min-van at 6:30 and drove to McDonald’s for a fresh hot coffee. Still grouchy as I ordered, I remembered how contagious positive actions are – how they can trigger an amazing domino effect. As I pulled up to pay I asked the gentleman to use my credit card for the order behind me as well. When that person pulled up to pay and discovered his coffee and breakfast was taken care of, a smile crept onto my face and my heart lightened. My positive attitude perked right up and kicked the negative attitude out. It was fantastic.
And this morning, when I discovered my pants wouldn’t zip at the same moment as my boys started fighting over the hairbrush and at the same moment as my negative vibe started waking up, I walked right over to my boys and said, “hey, you know what, I love you both, crazy morning hair and all!” After that moment I saw their adorableness and focused on that, not the yelling. It was fantastic.
It has been quite the journey learning not to yell and learning to look at myself deeper. And it has been quite the journey teaching myself how to fill my mind and soul with more positive thoughts. But honestly, it has been the most positively powerful journey and I am so grateful I made a promise to push myself last January to not yell for 365 days. Not yelling has been the most incredible gift because all that I learned has helped me not only to stay yell-free but also to lead a more fulfilling, happy, love-filled and positive life.