When it comes to having kids, the thing I've thought about for a long time is how they will absorb many things from us, regardless of good or bad. The bad plagues me especially and I soberly face the fact that if I don't want my innocent, fresh from God child to display something, then it should be my #1 priority to rid myself of it. Easier said than done of course, but true nonetheless.
Lately, the thing that has been on my mind is criticism and negativity as a default for casual conversation, especially with family or close friends. Now, I'll admit this can be a very fine line. It is healthy and right to evaluate things that happen or ideas we are taught for their truth, value and what-not. But I know in my life I often do not stop there and instead use it as an opportunity to evaluate the world according to my standards. The really troubling part is that I've been more conscious of it lately and attempted to stop it - change directions with the conversation ya know? And more often than not, I come up with nothing to say. And no that doesn't suggest that there is nothing good in the world to talk about anymore! :) What that means, I think, is that I've been in the habit of critically evaluating the world for so long that I'm not sure how to do much else. Not a good sign.
The other side of this equation for me is that because I might see and talk about someone else's failings, I expect that others are doing the same about me. That fearful expectation breeds insecurity and an overcompensating drive towards perfectionism. None of which is healthy, productive and, most of all, anywhere near how our families (physical and spiritual) are to behave and interact with each other. So, what on earth is the point of it all? I guess if there were to be one it all centers around self-preservation. Our modern society, religious and non-religious folk alike, has taught us to compare with everyone around us, idolize people, status and manufactured ideas, and ultimately, as the capitalistic icing on the cake, use our purchase power to validate our souls. Negatively analyzing and criticizing those around us, no matter who they are, is just a regular diet of pick me ups reminding us that we're not so bad b/c everyone around us are so much worse.
I'm good at analysis. Cause and effect, troubleshooting, and looking for the why this happened in the first place are things my brain ADORES doing. They are next to breathing sometimes. But, #1 I can use that as a tool for satan just as easily anything good and #2 those are not the skills I want my children to be known for, certainly not in their destructive form. Negativity in any form just eats away at life. We all know that deep down don't we? It's just so easy because the world around us is negative. This week I'm challenging myself to eliminate negative talk that is unproductive and analysis of others that is not solicited or is only to pass time and make me feel better. Any pointers on practicing positivity and productive conversation?