I’ve been going back and forth about the subject of this post for several weeks now. Even last week when I asked you to imagine your life without your destructive side, I was still having some doubts. In fact, while I’m about to show you how to commit another murder in this post, I’ll probably turn around and argue against doing so next week.
Confused yet? Don’t worry. We’ll get to the topic at hand.
So anyway…Did you start imagining how smoothly life would run without that annoying jerk who lives inside us all? I know I did.
Life would be all bubble gum and sunshine if they’d just go away.
Ways to tell if you’re being destructive
It’s easy to mistake being destructive for just being yourself. Super easy. In fact, unless you’re physically hurting yourself, you may not find a lot of agreement about your actions.
Personally, I like to look at things from the eyes of other people, specifically, lots of other people. There’s always going to be one person who’s all for or all against what I’m doing or saying. The question is how other people as a whole are viewing something. En masse, people can see things we can’t always see.
For example, let’s say we’re feeling angry and road rage is getting the better of us. (I know, it’s satisfying to yell at the jerk who cut you off then slammed on his brakes for no apparent reason, but stick with me.) If your behavior is scary to a passenger who always drives 20 miles under the speed limit, well, okay. But what if your friend who has more speeding tickets than stars in the sky gets into the car and freaks out about your driving?
Might be time to take a look at things.
It’s not so much about bending yourself into what other people want you to be as it is about realizing that when everyone in the world seems to have an issue with your behavior, the problem is likely yours, not theirs.
Destroying destructive behaviors
As always, the first step to dealing with something is to figure out what’s wrong in the first place. A good place to start is being more aware of the world around you. In particular:
- Are your friends less available to talk and hang out?
- Do people look for excuses to leave once you show up?
- Is anyone even paying attention when you talk?
Driving away friends is one of the first signs that your behavior or attitude is a problem. After that, you may start to notice fewer advancement opportunities at work. Maybe your family begins distancing themselves from you.
So, what do you do about any of it?
Seriously though, you have to stop once you recognize something you’re doing is a problem. We don’t get to whine about why we can’t stop or how it’s hard to stop. We just…stop.
Okay, let’s say you’re critical of others, it’s driving them away and you know you need to stop. Try:
- Asking a friend to give you a sign when you slip into your critical ways
- Being quiet while you think about the tone and words you’ll speak before letting it all rush out of your mouth
- Holding your tongue when you’re having a bad day
- Reviewing how you did at the end of each day
- Thinking about how others will feel about your words.
In the case of the critical person, chances are good they don’t even realize when their words are harsh or hurtful because they’ve been doing it for so long. Chances are also good that you and I don’t realize when we’re engaging in hurtful behavior to others because we’ve been doing it for so long too.
Unfortunately, there’s no magic switch we get to flip that stops us from being certain ways. What we do have is the ability to see ourselves for who and what we really are. And we have the ability to change those things about ourselves that we don’t like.
What destructive behavior, attitude or habit are you planning to kill this week?
© 2011, Jen Whitten. All rights reserved. Using content from The Positive Piper without permission will cause the Negativity Beast to attack. BEWARE!