Very powerful message for me today as I am around people on a regular basis who complain seemingly just to hear themselves speak, and I have certainly been one of those people myself! Complaining is a bad habit, especially when done without means to an end. It's something I'm working on, goes along with generally being more positive and focusing on the good things in my life. Whatever you put your attention to tends to grow and multiply, would much rather have that happen with happiness & beauty, right?
A nice example: Yesterday I was feeling kinda down on myself, have been a little under the weather and was just worn out and that's when the negative voices start chattering in my head. "not good enough..blah..blah..." Well, in the midst of my busy workday I take a break, check my Myspace and find that a new friend has left me a very sweet comment on one of my pics. Well, let me tell you, that just made my day and turned my mood around! Funny how a little bit of kindness from a virtual stranger can make such a difference, huh? Makes me realize just how powerful we really are, and makes me even more determined to spread some kindness of my own today.
February 12, 2008
Tearing Down To Rebuild
We all know someone who has elevated the process of complaining to a high art. Sometimes funny, sometimes exhausting, these people have the ability to find a problem just about anywhere. In its more evolved form, complaining is simply the ability to see what's not working, in one's own life or in the external world, and it can be quite useful if followed to its natural conclusion—finding a solution and applying it. However, many of us don't get that far, and we find that complaining has become an end in itself. In small doses, this is not a big problem, but if complaining has become a huge part of our identities, it may be time to take a good look at how we are spending our energy.
Complaining is a person's way of acknowledging that they are not happy with the way things are. In a metaphorical way, when we complain or criticize, we are tearing down an undesirable structure in order to make room for something new. But if all we do is tear down, never bothering to summon the creative energy required to create something new, we are not fulfilling the process. In fact, we are at risk for becoming a stagnant and destructive force in our own lives and in the lives of the people we love. Another issue with complaining is that we sometimes tend to focus on other people, whom we can't change, as a way of deflecting attention from the one person we can change—ourselves. So transforming complaining into something useful is a twofold process that begins with turning our critical eye to look at things we can actually do something about, and then taking positive action.
When we find ourselves complaining, the last thing we need to do is get down on ourselves. Instead, we can begin by noticing that we are in the mode of wanting to make some changes. But rather than lashing out at somebody or an organization, we can look for an appropriate place to channel this energy—not our neighbor's house, but possibly parts of our own. Finally, we can ask ourselves the positive question of what we would like to create in the place of whatever it is we want to tear down. When we do this, we channel a negative habit into a creative process, thus using our energy to change the world around us in a positive way.