Monday, January 20, 2014

Accentuate the positive

Recently a friend used a term with which I wasn't familiar: conversation wrangler. She had only recently heard of this herself.

Here's how my friend described the idea: You know how you often are in conversations in which everyone is complaining (lately, it certainly could be about the weather!) and every comment is negative? It begins to just drag you down after a while. Then suddenly you realize that you could change the tone of the entire conversation. You really could.

Gradually, you wrangle the conversation out of the black hole into which it's descended—and begin to steer it toward something more positive. You can do this gradually so that the person who started it won't feel she or he is being chided or shamed.

I've been sucked into such conversations often. Sometimes, I'm embarrassed to say, I've initiated them. So don't hear me saying that it's never appropriate to say a negative word about something that's happened in your life. There are some situations and experiences for which it really is difficult to find a positive spin.

However, if you find yourself just piling on when someone makes a negative comment about someone else or something around you, take the challenge: Be a conversation wrangler. You and I know that we can change the tone of our day by the way we see things: the cup half full or half empty. And what we focus on grows larger. If we focus on the negatives in our lives, that's what we'll see. But if we look for the blessings, we'll see more of them.

I'm going to try to hang onto this term and do more of it in my life. I really like the idea. What do you think? Is it worth becoming a wrangler?


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