Stop Telling Negative Stories

The other day, I spent two hours with a Frenchman. He was originally from Quebec, actually, although he didn’t seem to be proud of that fact any more — in his opinion, most Quebecers were slime. Actually, he’d been spited by people in every province in Canada, it seemed, at various work places and on the street.

This incredibly unlucky fellow told me, in non-chronological order, his entire life story. And what a life he’d had! According to him, if you work in the oil patch, you’ll never get paid on time. If you work for farmers, you’ll be paid on time, but most of them don’t speak English (they mixed it up with various European languages). He had complaints about basically every industry, job or ethnicity he had ever worked for, including heated warnings about several specific individuals. It only sounded like he had one or two good employers over all those years. Although, initially, I was compassionately listening to his life story, it seemed like a lot of complaining to me. Later on, I was listening with fascination, not about his story, but about how his attitude — his vibration — was coming true in his life! It was so crystal clear to me that his angry demeanour was manifesting in his physical life everywhere he went.

Another man I have met recently was telling me about a certain injustice that he witnessed. It was obviously a huge source of frustration, and I initially thought that it had just happened. Not so. The situation had unfolded months before, but the way he told the story, it sounded like yesterday.

Have you ever heard the saying

“A sad story should never be retold.”

I wonder what would happen if we changed the way we tell stories to others? What if we made a pact with ourselves to allow one week to retell a negative story and after that to never speak of it again? During that week, we could go hoarse retelling it, but after that, we had to bite our lip and tell a neutral (factual) or happy story instead. There would be no limit in how long or how many times you could retell a purely* happy story.

Want to join me in this experiment? Clearly, if you have a very serious skeleton, you will probably need more than a week to process it properly, in particular if you are in counseling about it. But for smaller, everyday stuff, or negative stories not directly involving us, that story would have to die — or change drastically — after a week. If you can convert it into a happy story, then keep it rolling!

*For the no-ending clause to apply, the story must have no villains, no victims, and be completely free of sarcasm/cynicism. 🙂