Untraining

A mother and her daughter doing yoga

Two of the hardest things I’ve ever done have been:

• getting myself to stop saying “like” as a filler word, and

• getting out of the habit of talking shit about people.

The first step for both was to practice mindfulness and simply acknowledge when I was doing them.

I would start and stop thousands of sentences because I noticed I would automatically use “like” four times in four seconds.

I would also have to pause in conversation because I realized my friends and I were naturally complaining about another person behind their back or insulting them for laughs.

We can train ourselves out of habits that aren’t serving us. What’s more, we can replace them with ones that do.

One of my strengths is my ability to speak and articulate my thoughts. Not saying “like” every other word has helped with that tremendously.

As far as talking shit about people when they’re not around, it’s poisonous. It creates this tendency to look for the bad in people. Plus, it chips away at the trust in relationships.

If you have a friend who talks shit about everybody when they’re not around, what makes you think they don’t do the same thing to you?

When I was trying to untrain myself out of this habit a few years ago, I would force myself to add to the conversation something I respected about the person in question. This can feel unnatural at first, but what I found was that no matter how I felt about someone, there was always at least one thing about them I could praise.

Slowly but surely, I felt myself seeing people in a much more positive and appreciative light.

There’s a lovely piece of advice from Kevin Kelly:

“Compliment people behind their back. It’ll come back to you.”

What would you love to untrain out of your life? What would that take?