How Speaking Only Kind Words Changed My Life
by Alison Cebulla
May 2012 I was at a party at a friend’s house and I set my purse down in the living room thinking it was a safe space. Later in the evening I discovered that someone at the party had gone through my purse and stolen $200 cash, my iPhone, and my digital camera. Rather than ask “why did this happen to me?” which is question to which there is no fulfilling answer, I thought “how can I use this experience to transform myself in some way so that I don’t feel terrible about it?”
I thought about the fact that my possessions were stolen at a party amongst trusted friends and what that symbolized for me. Was I always so good to my friends? I realized that more often than not I put down friends behind their backs with mean words and often gossiped about them. This was not friendship and it was not kindness. Would it be possible to stop saying mean things about people? What would I talk about? What would happen to me if I stopped gossiping? I started envisioning a 6-month quest to see if I could change this habit of speaking nasty words.
Truthfully I felt nervous about this challenge. I was so used to speaking negatively and gossiping that I wasn’t sure I could do it. My friends and family were not supportive—they didn’t think I could or should do it. They thought I was crazy and were nervous about how this would affect our interactions and relationships. “But what are we going to talk about if we’re not trash-talking other people?” one close friend remarked, worried that maybe this would mean the end of our friendship.
I set up the website with a launch date of 6/6/12 and asking for pledges in increments of $6 ($12, $24, $30, etc) to help me recover my lost funds and possessions (worth about $600). In exchange I would say nothing bad about anyone including myself for 6 months. If I slipped up and said something mean, I had to pay whoever I was talking to $1 on the spot. I got about $400 in pledges and my parents replaced my digital camera so I did meet my goal. The monetary pledges were an important piece because they made me keep my pledge. I had financial backers and I couldn’t let them down by abandoning the challenge.
I started blogging about my challenge on www.kindnesschallengeblog.com and posting my updates to my personal Facebook page. A funny thing happened that I wasn’t expecting: people started to think of me whenever they thought about kindness. I started to get near daily texts and emails about acts of kindness. “This made me think of you so thought I’d share it!” Over the period of a few months I went from being cynical, negative, and gossipy, to the first person people thought in relation to kindness. All of the sudden my life was flooded with positivity and loving-kindness! I started a Facebook page to post these kind inspirations that people were sending me. The more kindness I put out into the world, the more magically poured into my life.
And then I realized just how much we are responsible for creating the world in which we want to live. We are magnets for the energy we put out there. Do you find yourself complaining any of the following statements?
“Everyone is so negative.”
“The world is going to hell in a hand basket.”
“My coworkers are so lame.”
“It’s impossible to date. Men are stupid.”
“This town is the worst.”
“People are so mean to me.”
“Nobody treats me with respect.”
If you do find yourself saying these things regularly, it’s time for a reality check: YOU are creating these realities. Once you change your mind, your words, and your thoughts, your reality will follow. Try these:
“I am so grateful for the people in my life.”
“I love my work.”
“Meeting people is easy and fun.”
“I enjoy the playful process of dating. There are so many interesting men out there and not possibly enough time to connect with all of them.”
“There are so many treasures in this town to discover and appreciate.”
“I haven’t been getting the respect I want so I need to make sure I’m extra respectful and appreciative to others.”
If you change the words that leave your lips from negative to positive, your thoughts will soon follow and your life will undergo a 180-degree transformation—I promise! “If you want something you’ve never had, you must do something you’ve never done.” If you want better things to come into your life, you have to go balls-out and try something crazy. I did, and it changed my life. I’m happier, healthier, more positive, attracting and meeting inspiring people all the time, doing bigger and better projects, getting fulfilling work, and living with passion. The most important part of this transformation has been realizing that I’m capable of doing whatever I give my attention. I used to think that the things I really wanted were out of reach. Now I know I can create whatever I want. I’m capable of change through dedication and intention.
You too can take the Kindness Challenge! I’m leading a group until June 30th. Sign up here: http://www.kindnesschallengeblog.com/take-the-kindness-challenge/
She works in marketing for tech startup Trustlr, building communities and exploring how people trust.
She facilitates workshops to build connection and trust and help people get in touch with their intuition. She is also a public speaker on issues of health and transformation.
Contact Alison at firstname.lastname@example.org