I really appreciated both aspects of last week’s experiment!
While I didn’t exactly brag at my friend’s wedding, it was liberating not to feel I had to give balanced answers to inquiries from friends and acquaintances. I didn’t have to balance out every positive response with a negative or disclaimer. Now that I think about it, I don’t think there’s anyone who would actually expect study, for instance, not to involve hard work. I usually feel I have to acknowledge the struggles I go through, rather than just be proud of the fact that I come out on top. It was strange how much lighter I felt inside when I was only giving generally positive (but not untruthful) answers. It was as if, by not having to talk about anything difficult or negative, I no longer had to carry it around inside me. I didn’t have a lot of opportunity to put this into practice, so I was quite surprised at how good I felt about when I did.
It was also lovely not to review everything the following day, nor to constantly look back over my week. As we drove home from the wedding, I evaluated how I felt about it – whether it had been successful and enjoyable for the bride, for me and for the guests. On Sunday, I left it at that. It wasn’t always easy, because I did suddenly find myself thinking over conversations I’d had, or how I’d behaved at one point or another, but I made a concerted effort to think of other things. By not reviewing over and over things that had happened, I did find it was easier both to relax and to not pick out a whole lot of things to criticise or feel negative about. It’s impossible at the moment for me to completely stop any reviewing or any negative feelings from creeping in, but it was such a nicer weekend for dramatically minimising them.
Actually, I’m a little suprised at how good it felt to do something as simple as not think too much about experiences, even if they’re positive. Perhaps especially if they’re positive, because it means I don’t taint the positive memories.