Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Why does attitude month make me feel like an soulless robot?

The other night Melissa and I were talking about our struggles with attitude month and I said something perfectly worded that I can’t remember, but the gist of it was that curbing our negative attitudes was causing us to feel like we were losing a big part of our personalities.  Both Melissa and I consider ourselves to be witty, sarcastic people.  If we lived by “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”, it would be a very quiet household.  Melissa pointed out that we should make the distinction between attitude and personality, but it’s tricky because I feel like it’s a fine line for us.

I’ve had a lot of moments where I was in a situation and wondered to myself, does this conflict with my attitude goals?  Mel and I often watch Say Yes to the Dress and have a good time critiquing the brides choices.  The other day we watched the last two episodes of Sister Wives.  I was super critical in a fascinated, dumbstruck kind of way.  What kind of woman wants a relationship in which she only spends every fourth day with her husband?  Do none of the wives work?  How does he afford four wives and 16 kids?  Isn’t it kind of selfish to want that many kids?  Families with two or three kids have a hard time giving each child enough attention, they haven’t mentioned once how they think being in this kind of family affects their kids.  After we watched the episode I thought, is this wrong of me?  Am I being too judgmental?  Does being positive mean I can’t have an opinion?

We have decided that with the exception of excessively bitching venting our frustrations and Melissa’s trucker mouth, our goals in regard to attitude are primarily to improve our own internal dialogues.  I think that if we can make real progress with our thoughts the complaining and bitching will quiet down on it’s own.  The only reason Melissa comes home and vents about her frustrations at work, or I have a rage attack or go into one of my moods is because we aren’t able to deal with things in the moment and let them go.  Our frustrations have been building all day, or for several days and our only strategy for that is simply not to express it.  What we are doing is trying to stop the reaction, trying not to be outwardly negative, but the internal dialogue still needs a lot of work.

I think we are both struggling with outward attitude because it feels like it’s taking something away from our authentic selves.  If being happy and friendly makes me feel like I’m not being authentic, then doesn’t that mean…oh I dunno… that I’m a giant bitch?  Perhaps that’s something to be concerned about.  I can remember one night early in attitude month where Melissa and I were watching TV and in an effort to be positive we were not pointing out what a jerk that bride’s mom was or how that woman needed to lay off the eyebrow pencil.  Nope, we sat in complete silence.  If you spend a pretty big part of your adult life being sarcastic and judgmental, it kind of leaves you at a loss when that route stops being an option.  It’s like, how to I contribute to the conversation without pointing out what an f***ing moron this guy is.

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