Today’s Lesson: Stop whining about it. No one cares. No. Wait. Stop whining about it because someone cares.
I don’t know about you but I LOVE to complain. I come from a big family that loves to complain. We complain about everything, usually while laughing, because it is so enjoyable. Complaining is one of my main ways of communication. I do not even care what I am complaining about most of the time. Not really. It just feels good to vent about anything.
I complain about the weather (“Looks like it might rain… again!“). I complain about my drive from work (“Can you believe it took an hour and twenty minutes to get home today?”). I complain about my mood (“I have a headache. I’m stressed. I’m not feeling good. I’m stuffed. I’m fat. I’m sweating. I’m freezing. I’m tired. My feet ache. My stomach hurts. I need new shoes. I need a better car. I need more money. I need to relax…”. I complain about everything and I LOVE it. I mean, I must love it. I do it all the time.
I think if it came down to either giving up my meth addiction or giving up complaining, I would flush my stash of Crystal Blue Persuasion down the toilet without thinking twice. After all, if I gave up the meth I could still complain about it (“I’m too sober. Everything itches. I am thinking too straight. I got the jitters…”
I am kidding, of course. I would never flush meth down a toilet, especially at today’s prices.
Anyway, the problem is no matter how much complaining I do, I never run out of complaining. There is no cure for complaining. The best I can hope for is to treat the disease. I am afraid, though, if I stop complaining, then I will have nothing to say. I mean, even now, I am posting a complaint about complaining!
(I know, complaining about complaining. So meta. Mind…blown, right?)
I realize that complaining itself is not that bad. Complaints are just words, random thoughts a generally pessimistic society does not actually care about. Most complaints are trivial. Except there are people who do care. There are people in my life who want to solve my never-ending complaints. When I am cold, someone offers a jacket or blanket. When I am hot, someone will offer to turn on the air conditioning or a fan. When I am stressed, people are cautious not to irritate me.
The thing is, complaining is like dripping a little poison into everyone’s water. A little won’t kill us but enough over time and it we all feel worse.
I honestly am not sure how I am going to conquer this addiction (to complaining, not to meth) but I am going to start with two minor changes:
1. If I catch myself complaining before the words leave my mouth… I will shut up. My complaint probably can not be fixed by someone else and even if it can, there is just another complaint behind it, waiting. Better to just keep it to myself or pretend I have lost the ability to speak for a few minutes.
2. If I catch myself complaining after the words leave my mouth… I am going to finish the thought with a positive counterpoint. I know I will probably never master not complaining but at least I can practice living with less complaining from myself. If I realize I have complained about something, I will find something positive to appreciate immediately and share that, too. For example, “What a long drive home, I’m exhausted… but I am looking forward to a good meal and a hot, relaxing shower!” OR “It’s too hot in here… it feels good to sweat, though, that makes me feel alive!” OR “I ate too much again… but what a great meal! I am going to savor the memory while I work it off!” (Just kidding–there is no way I am going to work it off.)
It’s a start. I am not sure how this experiment will go but feel welcome to take it on for yourself or help hold me accountable. What would the world look like with less complaining? It would probably be a lot quieter and that does not seem so bad. If we have a lot less to say to each other, maybe we can get some reading done! Or, dare I say it… maybe… we… can all… just get along.
For what it’s worth, I am now struggling to figure out if I just passive-aggressively complained about not having enough time to read… this is going to be tough (another complaint!). But…I love simple life experiments and I am looking forward to the challenge!