I just read an article in New York Magazine called Could You Go 40 Days Without Being Mean? and realized I couldn’t. I also realized that since I was told by my best friend in the world that she had to cut me out of my life for being “too negative,” I should possibly explore that. Not to validate her or make her right, but for my own good, (which is what took me so long to get to this point, because seriously: who the hell wants to admit that??) and the good of my remaining relationships. I can improve myself and still loathe her, right? Maybe I’ll get to the point that I’m zen enough to let it go, but as of right now, I still wish she would die in a fire.
Good thing this starts tomorrow, because while I’m allowed to think these things, I can’t express – and that includes social media, which includes here. Balls. However, according to the article, consciously changing these actions leads to a change in thought, so maybe I will get more zen. I need it. I’m fairly certain that I could probably quit smoking and get control of my anxiety (without Lorazepam’s help) by doing this. So let’s find out.
1. Speak in a medium-soft voice, except when necessary (like, if there’s a fire, I’m gonna yell “fire!” There’s also an exception for disciplining children that I’m going to extend to the dogs, but in going to try not to, as much as I can).
2. Maintain medium-soft “tone” in online presence (this will suck. I’m in love with exclamation points :( ).
3. No gossip. If someone starts taking about someone else, I have to turn the conversation in a different direction, or else get out of it. Hopefully I can do the first, because I would have to run away from all my beautiful, funny, snarky friends, and then I would get kicked out of the herd.
4. Keep track of “goofs”. I’ll be doing that, and recording my general experience here, in case you’re interested.
5. 40 days. Be nice. Starting 1/16/2015 upon waking. Go.
01/15/15 – Day 1: Okay, I can do this, first day, aaaaaand… I slipped up roughly 15 minutes after waking. It may have been earlier, but I was too out of it before then.
Question – Does this mean I can’t “like” snarky comments on FB? I mean, I’m not saying it (or, well, typing it, as the case may be)…
Also thinking of not telling anyone to see if they notice anything different. If they do, I’ll know how pervasive this is in my personality. I’m thinking the longer I go with no one noticing, the less of an asshole I was before…
Dude. I feel happier. This is crazy! :)
02/01/15 – Day 17: Okay, so I fell off the wagon, and I’ve found that I’ve been way more irritable. I don’t know if stopping the experiment caused the crankiness, or if being cranky made me stop the experiment, but I’m ready to try again. *DEEP BREATH* I can do this…
02/02/15 – Day 1: I’ve been wondering if correcting people is okay in this experiment. There are a lot of people out there in Internet-Land (where I do most of my socializing, truth be told. Hey, I’m a grad-student, I don’t get out much!), who have ideas that aren’t just differences of opinion, they’re just plain incorrect. I’m curious if the “no being mean” rule is violated if I (respectfully) correct people. I’ve found that sometimes, no matter how nice you are about it, people get defensive and upset. However, I don’t think that getting your feelings hurt should mean that you should be allowed to walk around being wrong all the time! I think we have a responsibility to ourselves and each other to make sure we’re not spouting garbage and spreading it around as fact. Thoughts? Is it mean to correct someone? I don’t mean shoot them down and tell them they’re stupid, that’s definitely mean! However, doing it in a way that isn’t judgemental shouldn’t be considered mean, right? Let me know what you think in the comments!
02/04/15 – Day 3: I’m getting better, I’m noticing that I’m the crankiest in the morning, or when I’m really stressed, so I think I’ll try to avoid social media during those times. Sometimes though, the stress comes from seeing really ignorant comments on articles that pop up in my feed. I wonder, is it worth it to try to nicely and respectfully respond to these people, or should we all just let them be? Part of being a member of society is that you are held to certain expectations, and while not all of them are okay, it’s just part of the package. Do we allow people to just be ignorant and uninformed? It can really be harmful, just look at what’s happening with the anti-vaccine movement, and the fact that 80% of 1,000 people polled said they wanted labels on food containing DNA (all organisms have DNA). I think it’s our responsibility to hold people accountable, but is that “mean”? Let me know in the comments!
02/05/15 – Day 4: I’m definitely improving! I avoided Facebook today until I was “awake,” and it was way easier to not be snippy. I’ve become more conscious of what I say (verbally, and online) and I usually pause before I post something and think “is this hurtful?” It may seem second nature to a lot of people, but I’m a really angry person, and that anger controls me most of the time, so this is huge. I also learned recently that I have more GI Bill left than I thought, so this is my last semester doubling up on courses. Thank God. Luckily I only have one more month to go, and then my stress levels should come back down, and I should find it easier to be nice to people.
02/09/15 – Day 8: is calling Kanye West a douchebag “mean”? That’s not really “mean,” right? I mean, that’s just a fact…