Several years ago I gave up complaining.
Really, I did. Mostly.
Lately I’ve noticed that in conversation – or sometimes in order to make conversation – I talk about what’s not working for me. A little warning bell goes off deep inside, sometimes so faintly that I don’t realize I’ve heard it until long after the conversation is over.
This week, I’m listening closely for that bell.
There’s a difference, I think, between acknowledging feelings around something being difficult or unwanted, and complaining about it. I’m not a fan of ignoring feelings, of pushing them down or to the side. I don’t believe in the “just think positively” spiritual bypass school of thought when we’re sad, angry, hurt, or grieving. I do believe in finding moments of kindness, compassion, gratitude, or joy in times of dark emotions. I also believe it’s important to watch our thoughts and keep them from spiraling out of control.
Our lives are emotionally complex and there many shades of gray, pink, orange, yellow and blue between black and white.
But complaining doesn’t serve anyone.
When you complain, you give your power away. You abandon your right to choose a different thought, perhaps a better one, or one that is more true and less colored by the story you’re telling yourself.
This week I invite you to listen to your thoughts and to your words, and when you hear something that sounds less-than-positive, ask yourself, “Am I complaining?”
If you are, can you stop? Can you change the thought or the story or the conversation?
And if you’re not, if you’re expressing an emotion and asking to be heard, that’s beautiful and I honor it.
Those two things feel very different. Can you identify the difference in you?