Are You a Positive Person? Then Stop Complaining!
Why doesn’t this feel like paradise?
A few weeks ago I was sitting in a chair overlooking a pretty bay in the Caribbean, drinking my second cup of coffee and waiting for my husband to get ready to leave for breakfast. In spite of the setting I thought things were a little snarky between me and my dear husband. Nothing specific. No big disagreement. The weather was perfect and the accommodations, lovely. We were on vacation!
Hmmm, I wondered. Why doesn’t this feel like paradise?
What’s wrong with him!?
My husband had criticized several things about our trip so far. Of course in America, and in our marriage, I believe he has a right to complain about the sound of the air conditioner and the cost for a few things we had not expected. But still. Why grumble about what was otherwise a positive experience so far? From there it was a short hop to, “What is wrong with him?”
Tackling my negativity
Then I caught myself. Wasn’t I being pretty negative about his complaining? I decided I’d take the lead to turn things around. I just needed to bump up my awareness and focus on the positive.
But when my husband came out of the dressing room, ready to leave, the first unfortunate words out of my mouth were, “Taking your time getting ready this morning…”
Uh oh. Less than 30 seconds after deciding to be a lead force in turning the day positive I was lobbing a criticism at my husband.
But perhaps because of all that coffee, I thought quickly, and added after only the briefest pause, “…and it’s so great you are already relaxing into our vacation.”
“Really?” he said. You didn’t mind?
“No, I think it’s great,” I said.
My bumpy “save” made me wonder how MY critical comments were impacting the tone of our days. Don’t get me wrong. I believe whole heartedly that there is a place in life for complaining, but I also know a high rate of “nitnoi” complaints can drain the energy out of our relationships with the people we love. Even “paradise” can be sullied with too much complaining.
Try holding back complaining for a day. Take a step back and get aware. What irritates? What’s worth complaining about? When do we choose to complain–and to whom? If complaining is a habit, how does that practice impact those we care about? What does it do to our own spirits?