Tuesday, April 8, 2008

No Complaints Here

I was looking back this morning at some of my recent posts and I began to sense a theme -- complaint. Ever since we moved, and possibly even right before, I've been doing a lot of complaining.

Did you know that there's an anti-complaining movement afoot in America? Well, there is. I first heard of it in an article in Newsweek. I tried to find that article but I think we tossed the magazine before the move. So I consulted the almighty Google and found this substitute article. If you haven't heard about this, take a moment and go read the article. From this article I found out that the Rev. Bowen has been on Oprah and The Today Show, so this is probably not news to most of you, but I'm fascinated nonetheless.

I'm kind of sick of complaining. And I'm tempted to take Dr. Bowen's challenge -- to see if I can stop complaining. I don't think it will make my life better in the sense that bad things, or things that formerly made me complain, will actually stop happening. But I do believe what Abraham Lincoln said, that "People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be." It can work for me. I've done it before -- last week even!

And while I don't think it's healthy to suppress anger or feelings of unhappiness, I don't think that's what Rev. Bowen is suggesting. I think a lot of us complain out of habit. Or in an attempt to be funny. I know I do. Sometimes it gives me a topic of conversation when I don't have anything else to say. I've even formed friendships out of mutual complaining.

Recently a co-worker received a brochure about an administrative professional's workshop presented at our university. One of the topics to be covered was "Who could I be without all that attitude?" And while I thought that was one of the best titles I've ever heard, later I started to realize that it has the slight ring of truth. Who could I be without all this negativity?

I could be a better wife.
I could be a better mother.
I could be a better daughter.
I could be a better employee.

I'm not promising that I'll never complain again. But I'm going to try to curb my impulse. That's all I can do, right? Try? Wish me luck.


Colleen said...

Wow...I wish you luck!

I know this would be a VERY tall order for me. Although in recent years I've substituted some complaining with very large sighs so that I release the annoyance without screaming or pulling off someone's head and using it as a soccer ball. ;) But I think I will continue trying if you will.

Amanda said...

I'd say that article is too long for me to read but that would be complaining. hee hee

Is it bad that I want to print the article out and conveniently put somewhere my husband will see it?

Oops! I think I just complained about my husband in a back-handed sort of way!

I think it's a great idea! I hope you do well. :)

ImpostorMom said...

That is a noble undertaking indeed! I wish you luck. I should probably think about complaining less as well and I know my husband should. :D

Tootsie Farklepants said...

I think I would be suddenly very silent if I stopped complaining! Which is probably not a bad thing.

1blueshi1 said...

WHAT??? No complaining could end our friendship based on complaints!!!

Anonymous said...

Tony Robbins has a challenge called something like the 10 Day challenge where you try to go 10 days keeping positivity in your life. As soon as something negative jumps into your thoughts or actions you immediately move yourself to a different thought process. The exercise is intended to get you to focus upon how easy and often you move into a sense of the negative. once you recognize you can change it. Once you do this awhile you can make a habit of positivity! By doing this just 10 days you have a small time frame so it doesn't seem overwhelming to succeed. After 10 days you can go back to the way you always were or - and probably the reality - you will stay in the positive frame of mind. Give it a go and see what happens!

Anonymous said...

That is a great thing to aspire to. I wish I could do it!

Birdie/That Girl said...

love it! One thing I found that helps is not to only nix the complaints but to add something positive out of your mouth too - just for balance & improved mental heath *S*

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

I know this is hard to believe, but in real life, in person, I'm not much of a complainer. Actually, it drives me bonkers. Pretty much I complain about how much my husband complains. But in bloggy land? I whine and whine and whine. Somebody really ought to hand me some cheese already.

So, good luck on your endeavor and it'll be nice having you over here on the sunny side of things!

Laurel said...

Oooh...powerful idea. You planted a seed of good thought for me. Although I didn't think of you as complaining on your blog. I thought your were just sharing your stresses. There's a difference I think. But I bet I'll be very watchful tomorrow about the complaints that pass my lips. If I stop some of them, I'll probably be happier. Thanks.

Stacey/Sophie said...

An awesome post and an awesome thought. Thanks for passing it on!