I recently read a post on Bacon is Magic titled “Could You Last One Day Without Complaining?“ In it, Ayngelina’s sister writes about her 30-day challenge to quit complaining. I’ve thought about this before, and personally, couldn’t last long myself. What is it about complaining? Do we feel comforted by it? Do we feel it connects us with other people? Or makes us more interesting? I’ve tried to quit myself, with little success. My husband says I could never do it; that he can’t imagine me going 30 days without saying the word “annoying.”
But it has me thinking…
How do I approach everything in my life? And can I control this? I don’t really know the answer to that, but I’m going to guess that it’s just about the only thing I can control in my life.
Can I choose to stand in line at the grocery store and feel patient, or am I destined to always scope out the other lines, feeling like I need immediate service?
Can I choose to appreciate the beauty of the snow falling, or do I have to focus on how much I don’t want to drive in it tomorrow?
Can I choose to believe the guy in the next lane over just didn’t see my signal, or am I stuck in a world where other drivers won’t let me merge?
Can I choose to give it my all and pretend I am a backup dancer for the teacher in Zumba class, or will I keep looking at the clock thinking about how much I hate exercising and I hate the gym?
Can I choose to enjoy the beauty in the colors of the vegetables on my plate and savor the natural flavors each ingredient contributes, or must I look at that food with hatred and feel deprived because it’s not pizza and ice cream?
Can I choose to view the new eating habits I have created for myself as the ultimate gift I am giving to my body, or will I always view it as the worst kind of punishment?
I am not really sure the answer to these questions. Sometimes I think we can choose, and other times, I think it may be beyond our control. Regardless, for me it’s empowering to know that whatever my thoughts are, they are just realities that I have made up. So if I made those up, there’s hope that I can create new ones.
I know I’d love to live in a world in which we had one day to let it all out. Maybe we should make Festivus an official holiday? It could be fun to have a designated day for “airing our grievances.” Maybe then we could reserve all other days for a little more delight.
What about you? How do you act? Do you complain a lot or use the word “annoying” as much as I do? (I even tried saying irritated in place of annoyed, thinking I could fool my husband. It didn’t work.) If you do complain, is it subtle? Is it incessant? Do you feel more connected to others if you can share your grievances?