happiness · Life

A challenge for us all: No negative words for 30 days

Sterling Swanson wants you to join her on a 30-day journey to positivity. The midday personality at the popular contemporary Christian Radio station K-LOVE, launched a 30-day no-whining campaign yesterday on air and on the station’s Face Book page.

As of Monday afternoon, about 450 people had committed on Face Book to joining the 30-day effort to go “without

I think babies are exempted from the 30-day challenge
I think babies are exempted from the 30-day challenge

grumbling, mumbling or speaking ANYTHING negative.” Nearly 1,200 had “liked” the status update/challenge, perhaps illustrating that while plenty of us think the idea laudable, far fewer of us think we can actually do it. Which, when you think on that, brings you to the conclusion that we’re all too used to focusing on the negative. (Examples: You have a house, but you think it is too small/big. The sun is shining, but you think it is too bright. You’re thirsty, and you’re lucky enough to have water, but whine because it isn’t filtered. You get the point.)

Most of the folks committing via Face Book, and all of the people committing via email to Swanson are women, although a handful of men say they want to do the May 24-June 22 challenge. There’s probably a researcher out there who could explain that gender disparity, but my non-scientific in-house research leads me to this: women crave change and self-improvement and men tend to like the status quo. Ergo, more women are willing to say, “No whining for 30 days? Bring it on, sister!”

Swanson, 29, got the idea for her no-whining campaign from a conference this past weekend at her Roseville, CA. church. Keynote speaker Darlene Williams addressed the power of our thoughts to create – or destroy – the happiness in our lives. She related how women experience a negative event – boss being a jerk, family being unappreciative, coffee being lukewarm – at only one point in time, but then “play it over and over in our heads and go talk about it a lot” instead of letting it go and moving to a more positive space.

“It’s not even what happens to us, but the way we see ourselves, or complaining about our lives or just saying negative things,” Swanson said explaining the tendency for women to lean toward complaint.

This pattern sets up a cycle of negativity, and recognizing that cycle was a light-bulb moment for Swanson, who went home to a husband who had had a bad day at work and told him he was now living in a No Complaints Zone.

“I told him he could still vent about his bad day, but I wasn’t going to vent with him,” she explained. Shawn Swanson was intrigued (although maybe a little confused, as husbands are wont to be when their wives come home with The Next Great Idea), and listened as Sterling explained her project. He decided to join up; Swanson says the couple will keep each other accountable in their effort.

“I thought it would be great to have 30 days of watching the words we speak,” she explained. “I’m thinking it’s going to change people’s lives.”

Swanson will be posting a focus for each day of the challenge on K-LOVE’s Face Book page to help give participants some direction for their efforts. If you’re interested in participating, go here for updates, support and ideas. God Blogging readers can note in the comment section if you’re planning on joining up. And remember, when someone asks how you’re doing, don’t complain about the fact that you can’t complain.  Instead, smile and remember what mothers have been telling their children for years: If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

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3 thoughts on “A challenge for us all: No negative words for 30 days

  1. Renee, sounds like a good plan to me, and my husband has been reading a lot of books on creating a more positive workplace environment, so he might be open to it as well. Perhaps if more men realized how much they would stand to benefit from thinking more positively, more would put on their rose-colored glasses.

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