I’m trying to complain less, especially about the small things. Those mundane little annoyances that beset everyone and send me into over-the-top over-reactions all too often. I failed in my resolve yesterday when I engaged in a rather spectacular, internal whine-fest upon realizing I had to water my plants again, a small and simple task to be sure.
I failed again while out driving. I forgot to remind myself, when I left the house, that I should expect to encounter annoyances, such as drivers whose skills I would consider suspect. I forgot to remind myself to maintain my cool. This explains the mini-meltdown that occurred when I had to wait for the car in front of me to advance when the light turned green. Wait for a moment? Are you kidding me?
Still, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
While I hope that scaling back on the whining and complaining will make me a more grateful and grace-filled person overall, mostly, it’s about stopping myself from feeling miserable in the moment. No one feels better after ranting, raving, and complaining.
The frustrating truth is that most of my complaints are in response to things insignificant. When you step back a moment and think, pause and take a breath, you realize how petty you’re being.
The circuit blows and the television turns dark; I have to go out to the garage to flip the breaker. Is that really so dire? Does it require cursing and stomping? At least I have a home.
The cashier at the grocery store is moving so slowly I half expect to see her moving backwards. Historically, I’d use the time to curse about the situation in my head and make snide internal comments. How does this help me at all? Once I’m back in the car, I feel horrible about my lack of charity.
Someone in the house forgets to wipe down the kitchen stove – again! – and now I have to do it, because, well because it has to be done, and right now, too. Why is everything always up to me? Thinking like that leads to more complaints and more anger. The other choice is to simply let it go.
Constant complaining keeps me tense. It keeps me half-lit and I don’t start with a long fuse. This is not conducive to a serene life. Complaining and whinging never improves the situation and I usually don’t like myself much when I’m done.
Part of it is neurochemistry. There’s a low-level of anger that comes with my depression; it makes it easy for me to get annoyed, but – and this is a big but – I still make the choice to do so. Blaming everything on my condition is a cheap and easy way out. “It’s not my fault; I’m depressed.”
Yes, that’s true, but I also know that; it’s my responsibility to adjust.
I still have some control. I can choose to let the feelings of irritation go. I can choose to look at challenging situations differently; I don’t have to escalate. I can choose to seek out the positive; I can choose compassion and understanding.
Hence the “complain less” plan. I’m tired of how whining makes me feel. I’m tired of being edgy all the time. I’m tired of thinking about myself, or at least my behaviour, as petty and petulant.
As far as I can tell, complaining doesn’t serve me well. It’s time to work on letting it go.