Reversing the Negative Charges

Have you ever taken those personality tests – like, the animal test, the color test, Meyer’s Briggs, DISC, etc? I love those tests, they give you so much insight into yourself.

While I don’t remember what my results were on many of those tests, I can already tell you that whatever result most characterizes a precise, control-freak, detail-oriented perfectionist is what I am.


I’m one of those people who wants it done right…which is usually my way! (Can anyone else relate to this? *crickets chirping* Anyone?)

Thus, that often means that I am bent toward criticism and negativity. I can focus on tasks and perfect procedures at the expense of relationships with others.

However, at the end of the day, negativity only hurts rather than helps. With constant negativity and criticism, relationships do not thrive. That’s why I am striving to remember these 4 things every day to battle the negativity in my personality:

1. Criticize less

Because I want things done perfectly, it is my natural tendency to criticize others. It’s as though I continually wear these glasses that only spot the bad.

naggingHowever, I have been in workplaces before where I would receive much criticism and very little affirmation or praise, and it wore down on me. That past experience has taught me that it’s hard to stay motivated or feel significant if all you ever receive is criticism.

Though I’m still a work in progress, I have realized how important it is to build each other up. While my “criticism lenses” may never go away, I can still strive to be conscious of how much I am criticizing versus building up. There will always be situations when I will have to offer an opinion or critique, but I will try to be “hearty in approbation & lavish in my praise,” as Dale Carnegie says in How to Win Friends and Influence Others.

2. Be okay with things not being “your way”

Which way should the toilet paper roll go on the holder? If you said toilet paper coming toward you over the top, you’re right!

And, if you said toilet paper coming toward you from under the bottom, you’re right, too! (It still pains me a little to say that…)

toilet paperBut the fact of the matter is, it really doesn’t matter, does it?

I ask my husband Kevin to do some various chores around the house. He does them, but oftentimes they aren’t how I would have done them. However, the NUMBER ONE WAY to make sure no one ever helps you again is to criticize the way they did it or to go back and fix it to be how you’d like it.

In our house, we have decided that our rule is: whoever does it gets to choose how it should be done.

Being appreciative of Kevin’s hard work around the house and his willingnesss to help me is much more important than which way the toilet paper goes. Relationships matter more.

3. Say thank you

In our hurried lives, we flit from one thing to the next, going 100 miles an hour. I’ve noticed that sometimes my busyness or preoccupation with the tasks at hand cause me to forget to say a simple thank you.

thank youFor instance, I was exiting a plane not long ago. I was so preoccupied with getting my luggage and getting across the terminal out to the curb that I barely took notice when a lady near me graciously let me go first and get my bags from the overhead bin. It was only when I was darting across the airport that it dawned on me, “Did I even say thank you?”

Saying a simple thank you really goes a long way. How much would our relationships, our marriages change for the better if we just focused on using those simple “magic words” — please and thank you. I am trying to be intentional about saying thank you to Kevin and to my coworkers for all the hard work they do.

4. Remind yourself about the good things about YOU!

My critical nature doesn’t just extend to other people. I am probably more critical of myself than of anyone else.

As silly as it sounds, I have to continually remind myself of the good things that others see in me.

no negativityI have struggled a long time with thinking that I’m a huge failure, and that if others really saw the true me, they wouldn’t like me as much or think as highly of me. My gracious husband has helped me to see that that’s not true — that in fact, others see the truth while I am often blinded to my own strengths.

So whenever I start to feel very negative about myself, I stop to think about the things that people compliment me on, or the qualities they say they admire about me. I remind myself that those things are true and I should take joy in those strengths instead of focus only on my weaknesses.

I think we all need to give ourselves a little more grace and remind ourselves of the ways in which we shine.

This week, put relationships before regulations. Be uplifting instead of criticizing. And spread positivity instead of negativity. 🙂


How I Make Credit Cards Work For Me

“Credit cards are evil!”

Or, so some might say. And many others might not go as far as calling them “evil,” but they strive to live a life free of them.

credit card 1

You might think these types of people are what we call “paranoid” or “out of touch with technology,” but when you read the alarming facts about credit cards in America, I don’t think you can blame them for being against credit cards:

1. The average cardholder in America holds 7 credit cards.

2. According to figures from the Federal Reserve, total U.S. outstanding consumer debt was $3.34 trillion as of February 2015.

3. The total U.S. outstanding revolving debt, which is chiefly made up of credit card balances, was $884.8 billion as of January 2015.

4. The average credit card debt per U.S. adult, excluding zero-balance cards and store cards is $4,878.

5. Roughly 1 out of 20 Americans with credit files are at least 30 days late on a credit card or other nonmortgage account, according to a 2014 report by the Urban Institute.

No, I certainly don’t ridicule those who choose to shy away from credit cards. When you see how in-over-your-head a credit card can make you, it may be a very wise decision to choose to live credit card-free.

Because unfortunately, many people do get in-over-their-heads when it comes to credit cards. Many view credit cards as a way to buy it now, and then pay for it later when they have the money. Others may view it as a little extra spending money, not even bothering to think about the consequences of paying it off in the future. Some even get into debt and then apply for additional credit cards to help them pay off the debt they already owe!

Quickly enough, the bills pile up and you feel like you’re a slave to your creditor. Large amounts of debt hover over you. You might even feel great anxiety every day as you crunch numbers in your head, trying to figure out how you’re going to pay the bills that month.

credit card 2

It would almost seem like there are only two choices with credit cards: either run from them or become a slave to them. But I want to offer you another way to look at them: using credit cards so they work for you. (Yes, I know that’s not Dave-Ramsey-approved, but we’re all entitled to our own opinions, right?)

My husband and I have chosen to use credit cards. In fact, we use them for the majority of our purchases! Yet, we have no debt.

To us, credit cards are essentially like debit cards. We know how much income we have each month, and so that’s how much we can spend, period.

Because, let’s face it, having a credit card in your hand doesn’t change how much money you have in the bank.

For us, when it comes to making purchases with our cards, we ask, “Would I be able to purchase this right now with my debit card?” If the answer is no, we don’t buy it.

And when our credit card bill comes in the mail, we pay off the balance completely, every single month. That means we pay no fees and no interest.

Paid bills rubber stamp

So, you might ask, if you treat your credit card like a debit card, why don’t you just use a debit card?

While we see the potential dangers of having credit cards, we also see the benefits. Credit cards help you to establish credit. And when you spend responsibly, that means you can build good credit. That will come in handy if you ever want to lease an apartment, buy a home, or buy a car. Because let’s face it, most of us will have to get loans for major purchases like houses or cars, not everyone can pay cash for things like that!

Additionally, there are many credit cards nowadays that give you rewards. For example, you might get 5% cash back on the purchases you make.

So when you spend only what you already have and pay off your bill every single month, you are not only building a good credit report, but you are being rewarded for the purchases you were going to make anyway.

That’s what I call letting your credit card work for you!

bills paid 2

It sounds pretty simple, but the truth is, it might not be that simple for you. For some people, having that little card might be too much of a temptation. You may not have the self-control that it takes to use a credit card responsibly. That’s not something I’m judging you about, it’s something you should be honest with yourself about. It would be good for you to cut out that temptation from your life.

They say that for most people, the action of swiping a card actually releases endorphins that make you feel good. Whereas, when you hand over cash, the action of the cashier taking the cash from you makes you feel sad as you are watching your money physically disappear.

For me, it’s actually the opposite. When I have cash on me, it seems very dispensible. I make more petty purchases because I think, “Oh it’s only a couple bucks and I have it right here on hand.” And then those little frivolous purchases add up and I have no idea where my money went (because I hate keeping receipts!).

But when I use my credit card, I can go back and see exactly what all I purchased. There is accountability. I can’t hide it from myself or my husband that I frivolously spent money on a Frappucino or a Sonic slush.

So the main thing is, you need to figure out what system works best for you. What helps you to spend your money in the most successful way possible? Do you feel giddy when you swipe your credit card? Do you see a credit card as a way to buy it now and pay later? Then maybe having credit cards isn’t the solution for you.

If you think you can have the self control to spend wisely, I would definitely encourage you to use credit cards so they work for you! Do some research into different credit cards. Find out if there are any fees, even if you pay off your whole balance every month. And look into cards that offer rewards like cash back or points. (But beware, research has shown that having a rewards card may actually cause you to spend more money than you would otherwise!)

And if you decide to get a credit card for the first time, don’t go into it alone. Ask a family member or close friend to keep you accountable for at least the first few months, while you get a hang for your spending personality. Be ready for them to ask you tough questions: “Are you spending more than you are making?” “Did you pay off your credit card completely this month?” Even though sometimes it might be annoying to have to answer to them, remember they want you to be successful. If you find that you are starting to spend more than you can pay off each month, then it’s time to get rid of the credit card. End of story.

When it comes to credit cards, there isn’t always an easy answer. And I know that everyone is entitled to have their own opinion…if you disagree with me, that’s okay! But I truly believe that with a little self discipline, we don’t have to completely run away from them, nor do we have to become slaves to them. Let your credit card work for you and enjoy the benefits of spending responsibly!

debt free

References from credit card facts:

1. “Fast Facts About Credit Card Debt” from ABC News

2. “Credit Card Debt Statistics” on

3. “Credit Card Debt Statistics” from

4. “Credit card statistics, industry facts, debt statistics” from

5. “Credit Card Delinquency Statistics” from