• James McNeil

How you can tweak the words you say to make a HUGE difference in your life...

We were enjoying the evening, when it happened. Among the laughter, a few drinks, and a hilarious card game called Relative Insanity, I made a mistake. It wasn’t a big mistake, and to be honest I don’t remember what it was. I just remember my response. As I realized I had made a mistake, I said (by reflex), “Well, I’m an idiot.” (At the time, this was the way I rationalized poor decisions.) It sounded good, and I had used it as a way to lighten the mood on many occasions when my mistakes could lead to seriously hurt feelings.

Don’t we all do that? Don’t we all try to smooth over mistakes with a little self-deprecating humor? Probably not, but that’s what I had done for years. That night, however something changed. It came from Rose, one of my best friends, and a young lady I am honored to call my (self-adopted) sister.

“Hey! Three nice things!”

Her response caught me by surprise so much that all I could hesitantly say was, “Wha…?”

“You have to say three nice things about yourself now.” She said with a mild amount of reproach in her voice.”

It took me a long time to think of three (acceptable) nice things to say about myself. Finally, I did, and we went on with the game. Literally, they would not continue until I had said three nice things about myself.

Since that night, I’ve been thinking about this. Since that night, I’ve been caught more than once saying something similarly self-deprecating, and I had to say three nice things about myself. To be fair, we’ve all done the same for each other on a few occasions.

I would like to say that I absolutely LOVE this idea. Since then, I have spoken with hundreds of people, and almost every day someone makes a self-deprecating thought. If it is someone I already know, I carry on the tradition. “Three nice things!” I say. Almost every time, I’m met with hesitance, and then a slow mentioning of three things they like about themselves.

Remember that what you say about yourself (even joking) is indicative of the way you truly see yourself. So the next time you catch yourself saying something that’s self-deprecating, say three nice things about yourself. Be genuine and remember what Zig Ziglar said. “Failure is an event, not a person.”

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