Audra Krell

On Purpose

Archive for the tag “Lent”

How to Say No to Negativity

I've seen post after post about people giving up negativity for Lent. Claiming you want to is the first step, but once you're in, how exactly do you do it?

Here are 5 ways to avoid negativity.

  1. Be slow to speak:  Think about the words you will say after someone is done talking. Our first words often aren't our best. Once we've adopted a negative lifestyle, almost 100% of what we say is a negative, cynical comment. A little thinking allows wisdom to prevail.
  2. Be quick to listen: Not just as an exercise, but real, active listening. Maybe ask a question about what you just heard, nod your head at the appropriate time or ask the speaker to expound on their subject.
  3. Drop the need to be right:  A know-it-all comes across negatively. How often do you find yourself saying, " I just love Susie. She knows everything and enthralls us moment by moment with her fascinating facts and opinions on everything, even stuff she knows absolutely nothing about."?
  4. Practice: Listen to the news, radio or podcasts without forming thoughts and opinions until after the speaker is finished speaking.
  5. Believe: Know that you can choose to be positive. Know that you're giving a positively wonderful gift to others!

What do you need to work on most?

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Negativity-Free Zone

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Photo credit iStockphoto

Had dinner with an old friend last night and she said she's giving up negativity for Lent. She is encouraging her entire extended family to quit complaining. I love the idea and hope they all see lasting results.

Then today I came across this post from Trevor Lund. He will send you 40 daily emails to help you and yours quit the negativity addiction throughout the Lenten season.

It's easy to develop and hard to recognize you've got a problem.  You know, a complaint here and there about how much you hate people in the media, politics and Hollywood. A bash about the local grocery clerk. A disgusting eye roll toward the homeless person riding their bike alongside the road. A cruel word to the opposing team in the name of competition. Berating the serviceperson who isn't working hard or quickly enough in your opinion.

Before you know it, your "opinion" which you become known for, is one of utter negativity toward the world in general. People can always count on you to find the bad and make it uglier. 

And then, if you're an artist, it seeps into your creations. Colors every piece with shades of gray and lots of black. You sing the same old sad song, write the same poem, tell your dark story one more time.

In short, negativity kills creativity.

Creativity breeds life and I want to fully live.

What about you? Do you have a negative complaint behavior you need to quit?

For the Love of Lent

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When I was young, the season of Lent meant managing my friends. At the end of every February I'd make mental notes like these: 

Don't invite Sally Sweet to spend the night, she's given up sugar for Lent. What's The Love Boat and Fantasy Island without a Big Gulp and a candy bar?

And later as a teen:

Please don't let Tom Foolery ask me out! I heard he's given up fun for Lent.

And then as a young adult:

Better not invite the Legume family over for dinner this month, they've given up meat for lent. Whatever would I serve them, rabbit food?

It was all about avoiding those who were avoiding the good stuff. 

Occasionally over the years I'd jump in and try to give up something, touting my omission to anyone who would listen. Finally I realized that fasting from something wasn't enough, I needed to use that time to privately grow and know God.

So this year I'm not giving up Starbucks (shocker), red meat, or my Crazy Heart soundtrack, rather I gave up my notions of what the Lenten season is. I put away past experiences and ideas and started from square one. I researched, read and prayed about Lent and believe I'm different because of it.

Most noticeably, I've learned that Lent isn't about me and my power to preclude. While it's difficult to enter into this season of sadness, joy always comes in the morning and we will celebrate with joy on Easter. 

We will celebrate God, who with his abilities and power is the only reason I can do anything at all.

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