There’s a reason they call it the “terrible twos.”
Tantrums. Stubbornness. Attitude. Diapers (probably). And every parent’s favorite word….
Don’t believe me? Watch this. Then go hug a parent of a toddler. They deserve it.
It’s kind of cute to watch a little kid try to exert some control over their world by saying no to every suggestion. It’s not so cute when it’s an adult in the workplace. You’ve seen them – heck, you’ve probably even been one. Goodness knows I have. The scenario may change, but the process is pretty consistent:
- Step One: Person A elicits heavy sigh.
- Step Two: Person B asks what’s wrong.
- Step Three: Person A unleashes a barrage of complaints, usually including righteous indignation about events that happened years ago.
- Step Four: Person B makes suggestions about how Person A might resolve their issues.
- Step Five: Person A’s inner two-year-old says NO. Cycle repeats.
The reasons that Person A relinquishes control to the inner two-year-old can vary. Maybe it’s fear of change. Maybe it’s love of the attention being a martyr gives them. Heck, maybe it’s a passive-aggressive attempt to exert control in a situation that feels like it’s spiraling OUT of control.
Whatever the reason, the more we listen to the voice of that inner two-year-old, the louder that voice becomes, and that can lead to bad things. It’s exhausting to deal with someone else’s refusal to listen to solutions. At some point, Person B will stop talking to Person A, and Person A might gain a reputation for being “difficult to work with.”
Critical inner speech can impact your ability to find positive resolutions and can cause you to spiral into a pile of negativity that makes you incapable of acknowledging that success is an option, creating a self-fulfilling prophesy of doom. And in really bad cases, it can lead to life-threatening depression.
So do yourself a favor. The first time your inner two-year-old crosses his/her arms, pouts out the lip and says NO, you tell that kid to shut the hell up. Then seek some positivity in your life – a coworker, a spouse/partner, a close friend, a sympathetic dog, wine. Whatever it is, help change the story you’re telling into something good.
Even two-year-olds grow out of their tantrums and laugh again. If they can do it, so can you.
Positive anything is better than negative nothing.
– Elbert Hubbard