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Mere Complaining

March 23, 2007

Chers Amis,

What I have learned in the last 10 days: it is much easier to give up snacking, chips, soda, TV, and yelling – than to stop complaining, griping, criticizing and oozing negativity.  Just an observation.  A humbling observation.  Just when I think I am approaching a successful multi-day stretch, relapse. Sigh.  I actually ordered a purple bracelet last week so it is on the way.  It really might help to have that visual reminder of my resolution, an encouragement, the string tied around my finger.

It hasn’t been easy, but  I have seen improvement and I am sure a good hundred or so complaints have died on my lips.  Unfortunately a few ugly ones have slipped out to remind me how far I have to go. I do tend to measure my words before speaking much more than I did.  Not complaining forces you to change your "reaction vocabulary".  You can’t just scream or vent when things don’t work out. You can’t just say something sharp about the lack of cooperation, effort, attention you are seeing and how much it irritates, frustrates,angers, or disappoints you.  When you try to stop complaining, you are much quieter.  This is a good thing.  Didn’t your mom teach you the classic maxim, "If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all!"

Not complaining,  I have had to look for the good more and be more encouraging.  I have had to accept the cold, hot, tight, loose, temperatures, clothing, food, etc. I realized how much I voiced my general dissatisfaction to no ones advantage often hidden in a rhetorical question, "Doesn’t the coffee taste bitter?  Isn’t that skirt a bit short?"  The trick is to not complain silently instead; to think without judging.  I have learned I complain in many hidden ways. I call it complaining by omission.  You know it, the heavy pause, the loaded look, the raised eyebrow or slow shake of the head coupled with a sigh.  Yesterday was one of those heavy hormone glass-half-empty days.  I fell off the complaint wagon.  Again.  Today is another day.  So far so good.  I sure wish that purple bracelet were here.  Don’t you think the mail is slow?  (Just a joke!)  If you’ve tried giving it up, how is it going chez vous?

— Marjorie

PS – I spoke too soon.  Legos left on floor after repeated requests to clean them up was too much. Back to the start ing board.

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 23, 2007 10:27 pm

    Awesome post. So true. I’m not even trying anymore. I ordered my bracelet, so I’ll start trying again when it gets here. I still haven’t had any soda during Lent! It’s so much easier.

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