Yeah, I do it too. I complain. Sometimes a lot. And, even about the most ridiculous, inane things. I hear myself and think, “Is this really me running my yap like that?”. Although I have been trying to greatly curtail my complaining, I can see something totally unrelated to my experience at any particular time in the day and turn it into something about me. For example…when I first moved to Colorado, I just couldn’t understand the drivers. If they want to get into your lane, they’re going to come over whether you’re there or not. If you want to get into their lane and put your blinker on, they’re gonna’ speed up so you can’t get over! See, I’m doing it again! Well, anyway, you get the point. I found myself actually yelling out loud in my truck at other drivers. Complaining that they don’t know how to drive, complaining that they have such a sense of entitlement, plus some other wonderfully colorful adjectives. And, why are they doing this to me. What did I do? How do they know I’m a fairly new Coloradan from New Jersey and why are they taking advantage of me? And, when my wife is with me, it’s just great having an audience. Well, maybe this isn’t the best example. I’m just, oh never mind.
Anyway, I’ve also been finding myself complaining about what other people are doing in their own everyday lives and activities that just happen to be in my sphere of existence. Like the lady in the Safeway supermarket whose cart is blocking my way. Doesn’t she know I have a right to be here in this aisle as do the other people in the store? Why is she so inconsiderate? Or, the guy behind the counter at Panera’s who is clueless about how to run the cash register, who doesn’t know what’s on his own menu board and then screws up my order. What, don’t they train their employees? It went smoothly with the 3 customers before me…why did this happen to me? I can feel my blood pressure rising just thinking about it.
Yeah, we’ve all been there. And, if you haven’t, you and I most likely don’t coexist on the same planet. I’ve come to the realization that complaining just doesn’t help. I used to think that I was blowing off steam by complaining, but concluded that it’s really only causing the steam to build up. And, yup…you know the drill. When steam builds up, it’s gotta’ vent somehow, somewhere. It reminds me of the old cartoons where the office employee screws something up and the boss’ head grows 5 times its normal size, gets red and steam starts coming out of his ears while the whistle goes off. You remember those cartoons, don’t you? Well, maybe not if you’re reading this and you’re under 35.
“Complaint Department”…for service, press the middle button.
Complaining does absolutely nothing good for the body and if you poke around the internet a bit, you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about. It causes stress. And, everyone knows what stress does to the body. I don’t need that in my life and neither do you. Plus, complaining causes even greater stress in the folks around us that have to listen to it. That thought in and of itself should cause us to decrease or eliminate complaining totally from our lives. And, I’m not even going to go into the negative effects complaining has on our decision making process and the cognitive abilities of the human brain. I’m already in a mini-panic just thinking about that.
So, I’ve decided to go on a two week complaining fast, (I heard that snicker). Starting at the posting of this essay…two weeks sans complaining. Once I find myself complaining, the clock starts again. My goal is to get through the Christmas and New Year holidays without any whining. Then, once I’ve got some practice under my belt, I’ll make it a little longer. Obviously, the goal being to remove the insidiousness of complaining from my life. Soooo, who else is up for the challenge? Let’s see where we’re at after the New Year and if we’ve made any progress. Because if you choose not to try this little experiment with me, you probably don’t….uhh…I think the clock just started again.