The next time you walk away from a negative conversation, ask yourself: What benefit came from that?
These are the kinds of conversations I’m talking about:
- “So-and-so Teacher can’t manage his classroom. Oh my goodness.”
- “So-and-so Administrator said this to me. Can you believe it?”
- “So-and-so Parent emailed for the tenth time today. Agh!”
We often give ourselves a pass for conversations like this. We call them “venting” or “processing” or “necessary.”
Here’s the thing: the human mind is customizable. Our inner worlds are shaped day by day. These things follow the lead of our behavior.
So we can spend time rationalizing conversations that fixate on the negative, the stressful, the pressure points. Or we can spend that same power approaching things curiously, empathetically. And don’t be naive: it does take power to approach the hard circumstances of our work like this.
But Dave, you may say, it’s not me who initiates these kinds of conversations. It’s my friends. It’s my hallmates.
Then it’s time to change your routine. Perhaps you need to start closing your door. Turning off the lights. Relocating after school to a different space to do your planning, your feedback, your research.
This may seem to be disruptive to your day — and that’s just what it’s meant to be. These patterns that keep drawing you in to ten, twenty, thirty-minute negativity sessions — they need disruption, for your good and the good of your friends.
You and I are customizing our inner worlds today. Let’s do it wisely.