It is almost comedic to me how opposite the values that I want to hold are to society’s values.
They’re just so different.
One of these areas of difference that I want to talk about today is the area of gratitude.
Beyond church, I can’t think of anywhere it is normal to be grateful for things.
I can think of tons of places where complaints are the norm. I hear of complaint cards. People ask for “feedback”.
But never, at least for me, have I seen any sort of consistent vehicle towards being grateful for what we have.
This seems to be a big problem because, essentially, we don’t have a focus. And without a strong focus on gratitude, it makes sense that we fall on it’s distant cousin: callie the complainer.
Complaining is an interesting topic. The idea of experiencing the world, and then sharing with other people how much you don’t like it, seems to me to be, at best, a good coping mechanism.
It gets out our negative energy, sparked from not being okay with how the world is. But that right there folks is the core of the problem: we’re complaining about how the world actually is.
But, as I so often forget, complaining does nothing to fix the world.
In fact, it distracts us from the good parts of the world, and focuses our energy on the parts of the world we don’t like.
It is ALWAYS going to be a waste of time.
Simply telling the world, “Yo! What’s up. I don’t like this part of you.”
It ain’t changing NOTHING.
But, if you turn “I’m so thirsty” in the slightly more silent, and slightly less negative action of getting a glass of water, something magical happens.
The world stops sucking!
The part of the world you didn’t like - the being thirsty - is now gone. And you’re left with a happy body, and happy mind.
So, in summary, complaining never fixes anything, so stop doing it, and instead, where possible, take action to change the thing you’re complaining about. If it’s out of your control, accept this, and direct your energy to a different part of the world.
But we still haven’t talk about gratitude.
Gratitude is the most powerful thing. It’s a lot easier than not complaining, and more powerful. Simply eliminating a negative (complaining), doesn’t create a positive. It creates a vacuum.
So, let’s fill this vacuum with something beautiful.
Gratitude is seeing a part of the world, and loving it exactly how it is.
It is a mindset change - an observer change, as opposed to a “thing being observed” change.
And it’s extremely powerful. Since you’re not focusing on a part of the world you don’t like, you’re not being negative, and you’re not feeling icky.
Instead you’re feeling awesome. The dialogue might go something like this:
“Yo world, I love this part of you!”
“Yo beautiful human, thanks. I’m just doing what I do.”
“Keep up the good work my friend ;)”
It’s all flowers. It is a significant mindset shift. It is a paradigm change. It is a different way of existing.
By focusing on what I like about the world, I feel happier, and more satisfied.
This isn’t to say we should spend all day telling the world how amazing it is.
Changing the world is important. In fact, it is even more important than being grateful for how it is.
But, we can’t change every part of the world all the time. So, we will change the biggest, most needing to be changed parts of it.
All the while, we will be grateful for the parts we can’t change.
This way, we’re always winning. And I love winning.
In summary, work to change the world because it is very far from perfect. All the while, accept you can’t change every part of it, and express gratitude for the parts of it that you like. Oh, and NEVER EVER COMPLAIN.
Of course, we are all infallible humans, so we will not be able to avoid complaining, or be grateful as much as we should. But perfection isn’t the goal. Positive change is.
So, if you can work to complain a little less and be grateful a little more, you might find yourself being a little happier.
And after all, isn’t that the obvious goal?
I incorporate gratitude into my life every morning, with a text to my friend, Raunchesaurous, for a couple things I am grateful for that day.
Complaining is a habit, and I have been fortunate enough to have identified this as a bad habit and let go of it by now. But of course, like anything worth getting, it is a process that takes years. And, I am far from perfect now at complaining, but I am very close to perfect at being aware of when I am, at least. And this is the goal: awareness.
One way that might help you kick start the process of becoming more aware of complaining is getting an elastic. Once you find one around the house, put it on your wrist, and switch it to the other wrist every time you complain. If you get tired of switching it, complain less!
From the bottom of my heart, I send you the deepest, most sincere thanks through the form of a virtual hug, where I hold your head, and low back, cradling you like my child. The love is intense. It’s awesome. It makes me so happy that I live in a time where I can have access to a computer, know how to type, know how to think, and most importantly, have access to the internet where other people can get value from my thoughts.
I love you. So much.