Sunday, October 20, 2013

Complain Less - Celebrate More

I came across a post by Joshua Becker from his blog, Becoming Minimalist, titled How to Complain Less. 

In it, he mentions that we all have the knowledge that life is not perfect. Despite this knowledge, we continue to complain about life's imperfections. He tells us more about why complaining is bad and some steps on how to complain less. He talks about:

  • Considering the importance of adopting change
  • Embracing the recognition of an imperfect world
  • Understanding the difference between helpful criticism and complaint
  • Being mindful of the audience
  • Not starting conversations with complaints 
  • Not complaining for the sake of validation ("I'm soooo busy" sound familiar?)
  • Noticing triggers that lead to complaints
  • Embracing the idea of experimentation (Rather than setting a goal of never complaining again, experiment by designating a short period of time to be more mindful and take baby steps to improve)
On top of this, I'd like to offer some additional thoughts. Joshua opens his article with a quote that I really liked and instantly shared on my facebook wall. 
"You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses." - Tom Wilson 
It made me think of what my husband use to force me to do. Right before we went to sleep, he'd roll over and ask "what three good things happened today". At first it was very annoying - him trying to make me think right when I wanted to sleep. But then you start to pick out the positive, little things which actually mean something to you and you realise that no matter how bad you felt your day was, there was always some positive in it. Perhaps it was a particularly good cup of coffee. Perhaps you got a text from a friend that made you smile or laugh out loud. Maybe, it was just that you got to watch TV with your significant other or read the new issue of a magazine you've been waiting for. 

We don't do this anymore, but there are days I return from work, brain dead, tired, just wanting to crash on the couch and all I want to say when my husband asks how my day was is "It was sooooooo busy". But more often than not, I now try to be much more positive. I try to respond with something like, "It was productive" and then tell him something funny that someone said or did at work. Or something amazing that I saw, or an interesting article that I had read. In Sydney at this time of year, the jacarandas bloom and sometimes that's the best story I have from the day - "I was walking home and there was a jacaranda tree in full bloom. A splash of purple in the sea of all those green trees." Maybe it's just be but that makes me smile because it is such a beautiful sight. 

I'm definitely guilty of complaining and my husband's response of "and what are you doing about it?" usually makes me take a step back. Don't complain for the sake of complaining. Do something. And if there is nothing that you or anyone else can do, accept it and move along. 

I'm choosing to celebrate roses, which make the thorns so appealing. And I will set up the experiment of trying to be more mindful about complaining and focus on minimizing it. 

xoxo me

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