How Reducing Negativity Frees You to Love

Last week, I shared a silly little exercise from Anne Lamott. The exercise was intended to help silence the negative voices in your head. I found it to be surprisingly effective!

Personally, I was shocked at how negative my thinking was. Just as Lamott described, the negative voices started yelling whenever I sat down to work on something creative. But it was worse than that. My inner monologue was negative throughout the day. I found myself constantly worrying about a recent argument with a friend. And that triggered memories of other arguments… In my head, I kept arguing!

Using Lamott’s strategy, I was able to silence the arguments. Repeatedly.

Hymn (Day by Day)

This left me with an unexpected dilemma. What now? I had to think about something! The silence left a space to fill.

And this turned out to be the biggest benefit of Lamott’s little strategy. Although I hadn’t planned it, I filled the space with three different things.

1. Focus. When I was supposed to be working, silencing the negative voices allowed me to concentrate. It let me become absorbed in my work. The quiet space let me think more deeply about what I was doing.

And there was an even bigger payoff during the rest of my day…

2. Music. As a believer in God, I’ve spent many hours in church. And I’ve memorized numerous hymns and worship songs. In the silent space, when I was no longer arguing, these songs came to mind.

3. Prayer. I also used the silence to pray. Once the internal arguments were quieted, I prayed for my friend, for myself, for others that I love. And what a difference it made in my attitude and my day!

What is your internal monologue like? Do you need to make it more positive?

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