These days people are working harder than ever, but often are still struggling. This tends to breed a lot of frustration and complaining. Have you ever noticed that people have a tendency to “bond” by complaining to each other about all of the bad things happening to them. I often experienced that when I worked in Corporate America. It was just easier to commiserate and complain about the company than to look for the good.
For me however, focusing on the negative has a tendency to bring my mood down even further. When you are around this type of “glass half empty” person, does it make you feel better or worse after listening to a litany of complaints? Negative tends to attract negative.
My challenge to you for this month is to observe how often you complain. I’ve tried to be more aware of this during the season of Lent (and we’re halfway through, so far so good!). It definitely helps me to make that attitude adjustment more quickly. A complaint can be something simple, such as “Ugh, my back is hurting again, ” or “I really hate my job.” I read recently (can’t remember where) that instead of focusing on the negative energy created by the complaint, try to “begin again.” In other words, try to find a solution to the problem instead of wallowing in the negative mood state.
So, if your back is hurting, you may want to say to yourself, “Hmm, I’d better get back to yoga class because that really helped last time.” Or, “Maybe I should polish up my resume and look for a better option.”
Sometimes, we complain because we feel powerless to change a situation. I believe that there is always a way to change a situation or at least change our attitude towards it.
When you do this exercise, don’t be surprised if you find out that YOU are looking at the glass half empty at times.
That’s ok–just “begin again!”
PS A great website for encouragement on learning how NOT to be a complainer is www.acomplaintfreeworld.org