Appendix One: Replacement Statements
We human-types repeat ourselves a lot. Throughout the day we rely on a handy set of go-to statements in order to preserve precious brain power.
“Go slow,” we tell our toddlers. “Use your words. Be patient. Take turns.”
“It’s for the best,” we say to our friends. “It’ll all work out.”
We say these things many, many times.
My husband hears a lot of the same stuff from me, too: “Can you wash the dishes?” “Don’t stay up too late” and “Take the baby” are at the top of my list.
A bad mantra can be a hard habit to break.
Fortunately, a good mantra can be a hard habit to break, too. My advice: Pay extra attention to your oft-repeated statements, evaluating how well they help you achieve your goals. Then consider replacing a few of them with a nicer, more effective version.
Here are a few feel-good statements that can replace a whole variety of feel-bad ones.
Instead of “I can’t believe you did/said that” or “You are such a jerk,” try:
- “Are you feeling grumpy today, Honey?”
- “Are you feeling unloved today?”
- “Are you okay today? Is anything wrong?”
- “Is there anything I can do?”
- “Do you want to talk about it or would you rather wait?”
- “Hey! That wasn’t nice.”
- “I love you. I know you mean well. But I don’t understand the reason you did this. Can you explain, please?”
Instead of a sarcastic “you’re welcome,” try:
- “Will you say thank you, please?”
Instead of “It’s not my fault,” or “You’re the one who . . .,” try:
- “I’m sorry.”
- “That wasn’t nice of me.”
- “I’m feeling grumpy today.”
- “Do you want to know why I did that?”
- “Do you want me to explain now or would you rather wait till later?”
Instead of “I am so mad at you,” try:
- “I am feeling angry right now, but it will pass.”
- “Watch out. I might have to squish you/tickle you/[insert other completely comical threat].”
Instead of “You aren’t listening to me,” try:
- “Do you want me to explain more, or do you want me to just listen to your thoughts and we can talk about my side later?”
Instead of “No, I’m not going to do that for you,” try:
- “I’m not going to do that right now. But I love you.”
Instead of “Stop ignoring me,” try:
- “I am feeling lonely today.”
- “I am feeling neglected today.”
- “I am feeling unappreciated today. Will you do something nice for me?”
- “Do you appreciate me?”
- “Do you love me?”
- “Do you want to cuddle?”
Instead of “Well, ‘night, Hon,” try:
- “I love you. I really, really love you. Good night.”
- “I want you to know I respect you. Good night.”
- “I’m truly glad you’re my partner, Hon. Good night.”
Read the rest of the series at Fights You’ll Have After Having a Baby: A Self-Help Novel.