Tag Archives: Zero Negativity Challenge

Thirty-Day Zero Negativity Challenge

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Well, folks, today’s the day that I will discuss the results of Ian’s and my 30-day Zero Negativity Challenge, which concluded yesterday.Β For the record, I didn’t debate much about how much or how little to post. While I don’t believe in airing my dirty laundry on the Internet, I do believe in being honest with myself and with y’all. Without further ado, let’s get right into it!

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I implemented the challenge August 5. I loosely based the idea on a newspaper article I’d read about negativity that may exist between couples without their conscious awareness. I don’t think Ian and I were unaware of the negativity that occurs between us, but I do think we were on different pages with what constitutes negativity.

Some days, I would let him know, “Okay, I’m marking down negativity for today,” and he would be like, “Really?! When?” On the one hand, I learned that Ian doesn’t sense negativity in our relationship as I do. On the other hand, I learned that Ian doesn’t sense negativity in our relationship as I do…

All told, I marked down 20 days of Zero Negativity out of 30! The days I marked on my calendar as “negative” were not typically due to actual arguments or serious fights, but more like sarcasm, nit-picking, snide comments, or off-handed remarks that bothered one of us more than they should have.

Let me just add here that I absolutely believe couples should joke, laugh, and be playful with one another, even if a couple’s style includes play-fighting, sarcasm, or playfully picking on each other. After all, if you can’t laugh together, what is all this for? However, there’s a difference between silliness or playful jabs, and comments or actions that take things to the next level and can be hurtful.

Let me also add that I did not mark down the person(s) behind the negativity for any given day. It wasn’t something I thought about until just now, likely because “negativity” is subject to interpretation (in this case, by the calendar-creator). I also don’t see it as necessarily relevant to be specific about who initiated instances of negativity.

The only pattern I saw emerging from this challenge was poor communication, which was always due to one of two things: being pushed for time to talk and having two hours between us.

Overall, I’d say 20 days out of 30 free of negativity of any sort is satisfactory. If I had to assign it a grade, I’d give it a B. I’d like to see us at an A+, but as with anything, making improvements in a relationship takes time. Perhaps this challenge is something we’d like to continue… what say you, Ian? πŸ˜‰ Maybe it’s the Psychology nerd in me, but I’d be interested to see whether extraneous variables (e.g. the month of August having contained Ian’s first day of class, a wedding, my first day of class, my CPCE, etc.) affected the number of days of negativity. Would a month like, for example, November have fewer days of negativity?

We learned a lot about ourselves, about each other, and about our personal definitions of “negativity.” This challenge was, ironically, a positive experience for us, particularly as we were mindful about how we treated each other and about our honesty with recording. Y’all know I love a good challenge!

P.S. Is this something you would ever consider doing with your significant other? If so, would you publicize the outcome? Just curious!

Back In It

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Y’all, I am BACK.

Back in the ‘Burg,
back in my apartment,
back in my semblance of clean-eating,

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(mostly) back in my exercise routine,

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back with my grad school girls whom I missed so much(!),
and back into blogging.

It’s not hard at all to believe I went 13 days without posting. Between wrapping up my summer teaching position, studying for the CPCE (which was this morning, by the way), wedding-planning, and packing, the past two weeks have been a whirlwind of stress and excitement. Perhaps I should have taken a page out of Colleen’s book and simply taken the month of August off, knowing how much was approaching, but alas…

I had several posts I desperately wanted to write: the emotional ending to four summers of work with my students with autism; an update on Ian’s and my Zero Negativity Challenge; a close family friend’s wedding last Saturday; and a few other piddly topics. As much as I adore my blog and sharing my life with you guys, sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day. I’ve really dropped the ball on monthly mileage updates toward my 2,013 miles in 2013 goal. As I begin my 600-hour internship next week, I’ll be putting my time-management skills to the ultimate test! πŸ˜‰

Right now, at this moment, I am in such a good mood. That counseling exam is behind me, it’s a gorgeous 79 degrees, I am finally blogging (and blogging outside),

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I have dinner plans with some of the girls to celebrate yet another grad school milestone behind us, I have little else on my agenda besides a post-exam, pre-dinner workout calling my name and Pretty Little Liars reruns to watch, and I move my baby sister in to her apartment tomorrow to begin her senior year of college! I am truly blessed, because I could not ask for a much better Saturday πŸ™‚

This semester, I plan to work diligently to be a more frequent blogger. I think daily posts might be a bit ambitious, but I’m aiming for at least every other day. In other words, my goal is not to procrastinate or make excuses; when I get an itch to write, I’ll write! Thank you all for sticking around during my unplanned and unannounced absence. I write Sarcasm for me, but it means a lot to know there are interested readers and friends out there!

With that, I’m off to hit the gym! I’ll have much more activity in the coming weeks, and I promise to make a better effort to share it!

Positively Productive

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Boy, do I have a lot to share with you! This weekend was absolutely, positively, perfectly productive! So, let’s start at the beginning.

[Bear with me — this is gonna be a long one.]

Friday afternoon, Ian’s parents came into town from Roanoke to do a little rehearsal dinner venue-shopping with us. Because Bonnie has two sons and won’t get to do the fun girly stuff involved in wedding-planning and because she lives three hours away, Ian and I are making as concerted an effort as possible for her to feel included in the decision-making and the planning. Due to extensive research, sight-seeing, visiting, and Q & A, we had narrowed our choices down to three locations… which Ian planned for us to see all in one evening. (Insert obligatory and overly dramatic groan here.)

I won’t deny that I was exhausted, hangry, and irritable. Nevertheless, we set out for our first destination across town. Even Ian hadn’t seen the space, so I was excited when he and Bonnie and Jimmy liked it!

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Quickly, we were on to our next destination. Ian had seen our second location, but I was thrilled when he and his parents were smitten. We still went to our third destination, but our minds were already made up. Before we set out, I had thought I would’ve been happy with any of the three, but after having seen them all in succession I realized that my mind was made up before we ever left πŸ˜‰

(In the spirit of full disclosure and because I am loving planning this wedding, I will share with you honestly the locations we chose for everything and our opinions of our experiences post-shindig.)

We dined deliciously at Capital Ale House, which has become Ian’s and my favorite Friday night destination for beer and burgers. Their lamb burger, orange chive vinaigrette mixed greens, and Rauchbier cheese dip are to die for.

We dropped Bonnie and Jimmy off at their hotel and turned in early at my house. As much as we would have loved to sleep in…

…we were up bright and early Saturday morning. My mom, my sister, Bonnie and I had a 10:00 bridal fitting appointment at my fifth — yes, fifth — bridal gown shoppe. I may have found The Dress. I said this before, and the dress turned out not to be The Dress. I have a different feeling about this one, though… I keep looking at the pictures on my phone, complete with veil and bouquet, and thinking, I sure would love for Ian to see me walking down the aisle in this!

I tried on dress after dress after dress (which I desperately wish I could share with you!!) until Caroline and I declared we were starving and required sustenance before we wasted away to nothing. Hey, when you have hypoglycemia, you can be as dramatic about food as you want πŸ˜‰

We met Ian and his dad at Olive Garden, my “alma mater.” Man, have I gotten some strange looks when I jokingly tell people that…

We left in a bit of a food coma, but the jolliness of the weekend was perfectly fitting for the lazy evening that followed. We finally got to relax, so relax we did. Caroline and Ian and I gathered a random assortment of beer and settled in for 21 and Over. Despite its abysmal approval rating, we found it to be absolutely hilarious — the perfect movie to cap off such a great day!

We hit the hay early again, which I don’t hate. [I’m starting to realize at two years post-undergrad just how elderly my tendencies are.]

After church this afternoon, we wandered around in Carytown for the annual Watermelon Festival. Well, first there was brunch at Baker’s Crust, which involved mimosas…

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…and literally the best frittata I have ever had!

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After brunch, we browsed the vendors’ booths for a few hours. I even picked up a couple of really unique jewelry pieces! I love festivals like this with local businesses and all kinds of live entertainment. I hadn’t been in several years, partially because the festival always seems to fall on the hottest weekend of the entire year. It was great to be back, even though it rained a bit and then got incredibly steamy and humid.

I capped off my perfect weekend with a cheesecake milkshake, awkward photo courtesy of Ian:

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Unfortunately, this evening was full of back-to-the-real-world activities in preparation for my last week of work, and the start of my third year of graduate school in just 11 days. No matter: it was a perfectly productive weekend with my one and only, my family, and my future in-laws! πŸ™‚

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In other news, Ian and I issued for ourselves a Zero Negativity Challenge beginning August 5th. We have recognized that in our relationship, negativity exists in the form of sarcasm, making fun, little jabs, silly name-calling, etc. As our wedding date approaches, we are doing everything we can to improve upon our relationship in preparation. As we have chosen not to live together until after we are married, I am referring to this time as “the things after the rings.”

Our Zero Negativity Challenge has caused me to realize just how often we poke fun at each other and use just a little too much sarcasm. When I told Ian about several occasions I had marked on my calender as days with “negativity,” he was like, “When?!” I told him that I’m erring on the side of caution in keeping track on my calender; as such, I am becoming enlightened.

I think this challenge is going to be good for us on so many levels: awareness, change, preparation, compassion, empathy, and kindness, to name but a few. On or around September 5th, I’ll update you about how our challenge went.

Thanks for bearing with me through yet another lengthy post! I hope y’all had a wonderful weekend!