This topic came up recently when presented with the fact that less than a handful of people have heard a swear word come out of my mouth. Not that I am opposed to such outbursts but rather I just chose not to. I have never been offended by the use of these words and I have never judged a person for their use. It is a personal decision based on the butterfly effect.
Yep that’s what I said! The butterfly effect! It is the idea that a small change will result in a large change; if a butterfly flaps its wings in Canada, a tornado occurs in Australia.
Go ahead, laugh, but…. Think on it.
When do you swear? Is it just a part of your speech pattern? Or is it used to express dismay over a negative situation? Let’s use the old cliché of “don’t cry over spilled milk” but it’s okay to exclaim “F*%#”! Or is it?
Swearing is just a lazy exclamation of a negative situation that allows us to place blame elsewhere.
Why did the milk spill in the first place? Of course mistakes happen! They happen to all of us, just last week I broke a plate. I was annoyed at the dog barking to come in as the plate shattered across the floor (just one more thing I had to do!) but I also recognized that I was moving too fast. The plate broke to remind me to slow down and take a breath, to delegate, to stop and think about what is coming up that needs doing. Life is crazy, hectic and sometimes out of control, or so it often seems.
In reality Wednesday’s, during the school year, are busier than normal but only by 30 minutes. Why was I surprised that it was breakfast time for my grandfather, I had to drive my daughter to school early and the dog needed attention (typical Wednesday)? 2 people, 3 tasks why was I doing everything? If I had of just exclaimed “S*$@” and moved on I would not have seen the error of my ways. Instead I took a breath, asked my daughter to let the dog in and make Papa new toast while I cleaned up the broken dish.
The broken plate took me out of autopilot. It was a chance to look at what was happening and gave me the option to make healthy changes. By prepping things the evening before and shifting my morning routine by 15 minutes I no longer need to rush around. In fact this past Wednesday morning I had more down time than usual! A perfect example of positive in the negative. I could have blamed the dog for barking at the wrong time, the plate for being slippery and a number of other things that made me late that morning; instead I took it at face value and acknowledged the fact that I was doing too much, too fast.
This is just my observation of people walking through life placing blame rather than being accountable. I feel that if we can all learn to become a bit mindful when it comes to our speech patterns it can translate into increasing our happiness factor instead of…
Spreading anger & negativity
So now you’re going to say “Seriously Jenn, you think cursing spilled milk is going to spread anger”? Not directly… but again I refer to the butterfly effect. We have all had “those” days. You know, the ones where everything just seems to go wrong! Think back, can you remember one of “those” days? Were you happy, upbeat and positive when you checked out at the grocery store? The bank? Or anywhere else you had to interact with people? I know I have allowed a “bad” day to affect my mood. People react to moods. When we’re around happy people we feel happy, angry people spark our own tempers, you get the point.
Exclamations of anger affect the people around us. I choose to be mindful of my words in spite of the things happening around me; so instead of an exclamation of anger I laugh at myself and perhaps make up a silly word (friggarydoo) exclamation to set a better tone.
In any given situation it is possible to change the “this happened to me” thought into “I caused this by…”. Acknowledging how we contribute to any and every situation we can begin to make positive changes.
Rethink: Retrain the Brain to look for alternative solutions to the problem
Not to say “bad” days will never happen again it’s just that we can be better equipped to handle them when the brain is primed for problem solving rather than problem blaming.
Words matter. Tone matters more. AND. How we view ourselves and the world around us matters most.
Next time you find yourself in “one of those days” step back. Examine what is happening and look for the “why”. Take 5 deep breaths and reset. Think of anything that makes you laugh, I like to picture my dog (a big puffy golden doodle) with his head cocked and tongue hanging out the side as if to say “really mom? You’re silly, now get me a bone!”
Laugh at yourself and acknowledge you are in control. Bringing awareness to the moment goes a long way to changing it for the better.
Swearing isn’t the problem, it’s the anger and/or impatience behind it that is.
What’s your go-to happy place? Do you have an image that can make you smile no matter what? How about a fun song that can be played to lighten the mood.
Depending on the time and place I have a set of things that I know always provide me a great pick-me-up.
My happy mind check list:
- Happy music
- Pictures of kids and dog on my phone
- Mala beads for breath count
- Cup of tea
- Strength mantra
- Quick yoga break
- Short run/walk outdoors or time at the gym