Fortune Cookie Friday: Stop Complaining
There are days that I wake up complaining. Lately, I have been griping about pain and stiffness in my joints since my injury back in December of 2018. Other times I don’t like the way others drive or how slow my internet connection is. I’m not always a pessimist, and you shouldn’t be either.
Years ago, I was driving around town – running errands or whatever pulled me away from my desk. I passed through a neighborhood that consisted of extravagant homes. You know the type – enormous houses on lots with long driveways, sometimes ending in a gate. The yards looked pristine and meticulously landscaped.
Now, there was nothing wrong with any of the homes. The problem was me. There was a small voice in my head that said, “It must be nice living in a house like that.” This thought was quickly replaced with images of me cleaning all the rooms of a large house, mowing the massive yard of grass, and snow blowing that long driveway of heavy January precipitation. Of course, the owners able to afford a home like the ones I envied most likely had someone else do those tasks for a fee.
I do love the home I live in, even though I complain about the lack of sufficient cupboard space in my kitchen, the numerous steps scattered about my tri-level abode, and the more than average traffic on my county road. Even those issues have their upsides and remind me how fortunate I am. I have less kitchen to clean, an unique floor plan, and that county road always gets plowed in the winter.
Human cynicism is a natural phenomenon. In fact, I question whether some people want to be happy at all. Complaining comes so natural to us, and we do it so often, I wonder if people would be shocked if they had no reason to complain. Would they sit there in stunned silence and question their purpose in the universe? Would they purse their lips, searching for some criticism to say about life and their world around them? Or would they look around in awe and smile?
I aim for the latter daily—I’m not perfect at it, mind you, but I try. I do my best to find the good in all things, even the incredibly useless and unappealing things. I want to find joy in the world when it seems the darkest and share that joy to others. It all comes down to perspective. My daughter jokes that I could sell a dirty diaper. To some, it’s trash. To me, it is fertilizer conveniently packaged with a water-storing soil alternative gel—perfect for plants (except for the smell). All we need to do is make the packaging biodegradable.
When I see myself moving towards the dark side of things, I shift my perspective and find some glint of a silver lining. Once I see it, I grab hold and let it fill me with happiness, appreciation, or devotion depending on the situation. All that matters is I have a more positive view, and I share it with others.
Sharing the joy in life is essential. Moods are contagious, and it is easy for a sour attitude to move from one person to another. Before we realize it, everyone is complaining. But sharing a good mood can cheer people up and spread a little sunshine in dark times. Even the most cynical person enjoys a little bit of light in their life.
If you’re feeling a little down in the dumps today, stop complaining, at least for a moment. Look around and take in the view. Find something that warms you, tickles you, or makes you go, “Hmm.” Then, find something else. Before you know it, that complaining will become contentment. There is good in everything, and we need to focus on that good if we want to discover how fortunate we are and share that fortune with others.