A Year of Being Quiet

Be quiet3

Inspired by: Ali

My year of no make-up has come and gone.  It wasn’t easy but it was possible.  I didn’t wear make-up once.  Not even a little.  Not even when I had a big pregnancy zit right in the middle of my face.  I didn’t even throw out my make-up. It was right there in the bathroom cabinet the whole time.  Tempting me.  And yet, somehow, I resisted.

Enough with the bragging, right?  I promise, this is all leading up to a point.  I’ve been wondering how to summarize what I learned from that year-long challenge.  And here it is:

When it comes to goals, it’s a lot easier to stop doing something than it is to start doing something.  

I don’t know about you folks, but for myself, vows that have been made in recent years to put aside some time to work-out, or meditate everyday, or really dedicate myself to an instrument, or whatever else I want to add to my life have never lasted for a full year.  Not even close. I’m lucky if I get a solid week in.

Maybe this is because, at the core of myself, I’m a bit lazy.  Or maybe it’s because three little ones haven’t increased my ability to be consistent… or freed up much spare time.

Whatever the reason, the reality of this experience has been that taking something out of my life instead of trying to add something to it, provided relief instead of more stress.  And it actually ended up freeing up a bit of my time and energy for other things that I valued a lot more.

The truth is, giving up make-up wasn’t even that hard… because it wasn’t something that I really valued; probably the the reason I was willing to give it up for a year in the first place.   And even though wearing make-up may or may not really matter in the grand scheme of it all, the cool thing moving forward is knowing that I am capable of not doing something perfectly for a full year, and perhaps even the rest of my life.  This is the part, that I believe, has opened up boundless opportunities.

And with all that said, I present to you this year’s challenge:

I will be taking a year off from making any kind of negative comment about another person.  If I have a difficulty or an issue with someone that I feel is worth mentioning, I will speak to that person directly. If I’m not certain whether or not a comment about someone else is negative, or if I can’t find anything positive to say, I will simply be quiet.  *See above image 🙂

I have often remarked to others about how much I admire my grandmother, Dolina Smith, whom I’ve never heard speak negatively about another person. In quiet moments, I’ve often thought about how nice it would be to also be the kind of person who never speaks negatively about anyone else.  And as of today, I will wish no longer!

Life is just simply too hard for each of us not be supportive of one another.

I hope that I can succeed at another “perfect year”  when it comes to this challenge.  Since I carry my thoughts and my mouth with my always, I’m afraid that this year will be a lot harder to accomplish than last year was.  Wish me luck!

And of course, feel free to join me!

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9 Responses to “A Year of Being Quiet”

  1. Jasmine says:

    You’re an inspiration Jen. You have such pure motives. Thanks for your insight!

    • Jen Bowden says:

      Thanks Jasmine! Sadly, this is only my attempt to have purer motives in the future. My hope is that my thoughts will become more pure and loving once I have learned to better control the things that I say 🙂 I miss you, by the way. Hope your summer has been amazing.

  2. Ali says:

    I hear your goal, will definitely join you, and will even raise the stakes…in class junction with not saying anything negative about anther person, I also don’t want to listen to anything negative about another person. This is because of I do, that comment is in my head and heart. This will be hard to do perfectly as I cannot control what others say, but I believe it will help me to not say negative things (because I don’t have them on my head and heart)

    • Jen Bowden says:

      Thanks, Ali. I love that you brought this up. It’s so true that the things that we allow ourselves to hear affect the way that we think and feel about other people. Not only that, but I think that allowing myself to listen to negative things said about someone else makes me party to those comments, even if I’m not the one speaking. I will definitely do my best to refrain from this form of negativity as well.

  3. brittany says:

    Beautiful.TJ and I were just talking about how profound the ripple effect would be in our own lives if we tried to eliminate useless negativity.
    Congratulations and good luck!

  4. Beth says:

    Love the prospective you got from your one year challenge. Not what I was expecting, but so inspiring!

  5. Valerie Thomson says:

    I am inspired and will join the positive revolution… Or maybe the quiet year 🙂

  6. Ali says:

    Haha, Val, that may be the case already. I have already been more quiet than I’ve ever been my whole life this past week. I am reminded of one of my favourite lines by our beloved, Ann-with-an-E: “if you only knew all the things I wanted to say, and didn’t, you’d give me some credit.” I am surprised by how much I “almost say” that could be considered negative.

    Another great quote to this end: “great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, and small minds discuss people” (attributes to Elenor Rooseveldt)

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