We all know life isn’t always easy, and some days are certainly tougher than others. Despite our best efforts to be thankful and present, there are times when our thoughts turn negative and we find ourselves complaining about any and every little thing that goes wrong.
No one is immune to this trapping, and while we often hear people speak about the uplifting power of positivity, seldom do people open up in a real and meaningful way about the crippling power of negativity. In a candid new post on her daughter Sadie’s Live Original blog, Korie Robertson shares how a recent experience listening to her children complain sent her over the edge and how her own negativity once nearly led to the demise of her marriage.
“Yep, I said it. I told our kids their negativity was sucking the life out of me,” Robsertson began the post before sharing that during a recent ride home from church she found herself at wit’s end as her sons groaned about everything from their choice of restaurants to going to school.
Robertson admitted that complaining has become of bit of a bad habit for her youngest child, and she often finds herself trying to remind him to look at the bright side even when it is hard to do so.
I had been on this subject for a while with this child. I constantly give mini-speeches about negativity and how it affects how you feel–your brain is powerful, and when you think negatively and say negative words, it hurts you. Doctors say even to the point of physically making you sick. We discussed how you can re-train your brain to be positive, to think positively. A good friend of mine even told him about the meaning of the phrase “the silver lining.” She told him how it was important to find the silver lining in everything in life. It’s always there if you look for it.
It was a great talk, and I was inspired, at least. But this particular morning, the very next day after this awesome talk, I reminded him to find the silver lining but he proclaimed that in this situation there is no silver lining. The situation he was talking about is school. Seriously! This makes me crazy. Do you know the number of kids in the world that are so thankful just to be able to go to school, to learn, to get an education–kids that walk miles and miles, that cross rivers and valleys to have the chance to go to school. (check youtube if you think I’m exaggerating here. There’s a video of Chinese kids who literally climb a cliff with a rope ladder everyday to get to school) And here is my child saying there is ZERO silver lining to school.
I honestly don’t even think he actually hated school that badly. He is smart, he does well in his classes. He comes home and tells me things he likes. I really think it’s that this kid was just stuck in a trap of negativity. It’s the way he’s wired, has been taught, seen others be, or whatever–the reason doesn’t really matter, but the result is damaging to him…and to me.
To add insult to injury, during this same car ride her other son chose to voice his dismay over the restaurant they had chosen to go to for lunch. Robertson said she felt as though all the negative energy was “eating away at my soul!”
While she was obviously frustrated with her children’s behavior, she did admit to being somewhat sympathetic to their feelings. Robertson wrote that, earlier in their marriage, her husband Willie told her that she was essentially sucking the life out of him, and it was that comment that permanently changed her way of thinking.
I remember one time when Willie said my negativity was sucking the life out of him. Well, not exactly those words, or it might have been those words. It was close. He said it plainly enough that it hurt and it stuck with me, and I decide to change. We had 4 little ones, with the younger two just 10 months apart. Marriage with a bunch of little kiddos at your feet is no joke. There’s only so much of you to go around. Unfortunately, that’s the time when a lot of people call it quits. Husbands and wives don’t put in the work to reconnect, they “grow apart”, they forget why they married that person in the first place. I was noticing Willie pulling away, spending more time disengaged from me, from us. Things weren’t going so well, and then he said it.
I always wanted a big family, and I truly believe I was made to be a mom. I was a good mom, and our kids were adorable, fun and precious. I had a great job as the children’s minister at our church, and we were starting to run duckcommander.com out of our home. All good things. I had everything I ever wanted, but I was tired. The words coming out of my mouth to Willie, were only reflecting the last part of what I just told you about my life back then. I was telling Willie all of the negative things that happened in the day instead of the positive ones, and my words were sucking the life out of him–and me, I just hadn’t realized it yet. I decided I’d better change. It didn’t happen all at once, but I worked on it.
I started mentioning the good things more … And I promise you, it changed things. It changed me. I was a happier person. I felt better throughout the day–had more energy, smiled more. I noticed the good things, the blessings. I was living life with gratitude, instead of complaints. It changed us.
We were happier and more connected, but It didn’t change the difficulties in our lives … Here’s the thing, though, it changed me. It changed our marriage, our family, and probably the trajectory of our lives. I truly think it was that monumental … Am I perfect at this? Nope, but I know what negativity does to me and to the ones I love the most. So, when I see it in my life, I work to stop it right in it’s tracks.
Robertson explained that she draws strength from Phillippians 4:8, which speaks of living a life of gratitude: “Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.” She believes that putting those words into practice will not only change you but those around you.
While learning to overcome the negative and embrace the positive will forever be a work-in-progress, she wrote that they have all made “major improvements” in their positivity levels and their family is stronger for it.
“I’m happy to report that the life did not actually get sucked out of me. We all survived,” she concluded. “Maybe we all need to hear sometimes that the way we act isn’t just hurting us, it’s affecting our relationships with the ones we love. If it doesn’t help to tell you to change it for you, change it for those around you. You don’t want to suck the life out of the people you love the most.”
Read the entire post HERE.