Q: Some time ago you wrote a great article about nagging.
I hated it, not because it was such a bad article but because it hit a little too close to home for me.
I am well known around the house as the family nag. I nag my husband, I nag my kids, I nag his mother and I am forever shooing the dog out of my kitchen. I would like to change.
The cost of nagging is too high.
Often as not, everyone avoids me when given the chance to do so and I do not get a lot of loving in return.
The problem is that I do not know how to change.
I have tried self discipline to stop nagging, I have tried rewarding myself when I don’t nag and I have tried just shutting up, but nothing seems to work. I fall back into some kind of default nagging regardless of my determined efforts to make things better.
I would like some help here. Do you have any ideas?
A: Probably the easiest and most obvious recommendation I can make for you is to find a competent counsellor with whom you can work through some of your issues. Just remember that the goal for counselling, or for whatever you choose, is not to stop nagging. The goal is to develop a more positive framework within your neurological structure for understanding your life around you.
My guess is that you have a negative frame of reference.
You don’t have to take my word for it. You can check it out on your own. Take a piece of paper, fold it in half and put a positive sign (+) on one side of it and a negative sign (-) on the other side. Then stop yourself frequently throughout the day and put down your thoughts onto the paper. If your thoughts are warm and fuzzy, tender and caring either about yourself or about someone else, put them onto the positive side. If they are critical, judgmental and dismissing, put them onto the negative side.
At the end of the day, if you are like most of us, you will find more thoughts on the negative side than you will on the positive side.
To quit nagging, you probably need to first of all change that thinking so that it is more positive than negative. Nagging is hard to do when you are loving and caring.
The trick to changing your thinking is to remember you can only have one thought at a time. Sometimes our brains go into rapid fire mode and we think that we have a zillion thoughts all going on at the same time. But we don’t. All that we ever have is just that one thought no matter how quickly it comes and goes. If you catch that one thought and change it into a more positive moment, you will have one less negative thought clouding your life.
Do that often enough, and you can start to change your overall outlook. That is when the nagging starts to evaporate.