I’ve been realizing lately that I’ve been finding a lot to complain about. It hit me when I was in a terrible mood and all of a sudden I heard myself speaking. No wonder I’d been in a bad mood. I was constantly finding reasons to be in one! Now, though justified (aren’t we all?!), these things I was complaining about weren’t getting solved by me complaining, instead they were taking up the mental space that could otherwise be used for joyful thoughts. I was shocked when I realized what was happening. I’m generally a happy, cheerful person and this definitely was NOT fitting the vision of my life.
I woke up the next morning and the first thing that came to mind was gratitude. That was it! That was the key! I knew I had to start small in the morning and build up throughout the day so I began on my morning walk to grab coffee. Instead of letting my mind wander I instead looked around at what was around me and felt gratitude for it. Instead of walking a city block, I walked through a beautiful park on the way to my destination, just taking in everything around me and feeling very grateful to be there. Then it hit me. Gratitude is the opposite of complaining. And all either of them are in terms of ability is habit. So what if every time I went to complain I instead found something to be grateful for? Hmm. This seems like a way more fun way to go about my day! So here is my practice for the next few months (21 days to form a new habit but let’s really enforce it!) I’d love it if you’d join me!
When something comes up to complain about - I'll ask myself, “Is this something that is worth the mental toll it will take on me?” 9 times out of 10 it won’t be. Sure, there are times when it is necessary (note: I didn’t say justified) but I'll ask that question first.
Wait. Sometimes if we just wait a few hours we wonder why that seemed so important to talk about in the first place. Sure it may still bother you but chances are it will have calmed down a bit. If not, journal about it. And if still not, go ahead and find a trusted confidant who gets you just need to let this one out!
- Replace complaining with gratitude. Listen, no one is perfect and it's inevitable that we'll catch ourselves complaining at some point (or gossiping...eeks!). When you notice it, don't beat yourself up about it. Actually be proud that you noticed it because that means you're becoming more aware of your habits. Then in that moment find something to be grateful for, this way the new habit is replacing the old and next time the thought will go to gratitude faster! It's just building a muscle!
We all complain to feel justified but our real power comes when we realize it’s only doing us a disservice. And the funny this is the faster we move out of complaining and into gratitude the more wonderful things will come our way and the less there will be to complain about. Sounds like a better deal, don’t you think?
So since this is the week of Thanks, why not utilize this as a time to start flexing our gratitude muscles for the long haul and maybe by 2016 we can be a bit brighter, happier and more gracious human beings!
Happy Thanksgiving!! xo