"If you can't think something nice, don't think anything at all." --My take on Thumper's Law, "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all."
I am reading Anne Lamott again and her books always make we want to weep at the hopelessness of our situation and at the same time inspire me to be better in the face of all this hopelessness. It is a fine line she walks between utter despair and blissful transcendence and I always enjoy the ride.
One thing I am noticing this time is that she always says at least three good things about the people she loves when she describes them in her books.
Here are some examples from the book I am currently reading (Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son's First Son):
"Jax was the loveliest baby boy I'd ever seen....gorgeous as God or a crescent moon, with huge black eyes..."
"[Trudy] is down-to-earth, outgoing and constantly doing something useful."
"[Olivia] is beautiful, blonde and a champion gymnast."
I could go on, but you get the idea.
This strikes me as one of the secrets to good relationships, and one I didn't learn as a child. I'm not sure if it was my primarily mid-Western upbringing (though I have a feeling this was a large part of it) or just my family, but my grandmother always made it a point to talk about what those she loved were doing WRONG. And this trickled down to me. So much so that it became a habit I didn't even know I had until I started this whole spiritual thing.
It was then that I realized this way of talking about people was not loving, was not kind, and was not who I wanted to be. But it is a HARD habit to break. Even harder to break it in my own head. Even harder to break it when talking about mySELF.
I have been trying to be better and NOT say the bad thing I am thinking. Or not even to think the bad thing I am thinking. But I never really thought about what could take its place until I started this book. What about the good things? Why not focus on them? Think them? Even SAY them?
So I am going to give it a try. Instead of thinking I love so-and-so BUT....and then listing their worst traits; i am going to try and list 3 good things.
Three good things about my husband. Three good things about my kids. Three good things about mySELF.
My husband is loyal, and encouraging and feels things deeply.
My older son is bright and energetic and kind.
My younger son is sweet and thoughtful and sensitive.
I am generous and thoughtful and competent.
That's it for today, but I'm going to try and keep it up. What about you?