I wrote the other day about letting go of a friend who complains a lot. So here is a quick post to mention my own history of complaining and how I have gently nudged it out of my life using honesty, curiosity, appreciation and gratitude.
I remember asking a friend once if I complain much, expecting him to say ‘not at all’. But he said, ‘actually yes you do seem to have an endless list of complaints and problems’. I was shocked. This is not how I chose to view myself. I recognised the truth right away though, I was actually a bit of a drama queen. I got some kind of gratification for reporting how awful things were, while at the same time maintaining a certain bravery about it. What an act! When I met friends we took turns sharing our latest troubles and problems. Anything to keep the joy inside at bay!
- Honesty – just noticing it and naming it – observing ourselves complaining while it is happening and being aware of how that feels in our bodies too. I often walk away from conversations and take note of how many times I complained – and in a lighthearted way, no point in beating ourselves up for anything!
- Curiosity about the motive for it led me to see that I had a glass ceiling of happiness that I would not allow myself to go beyond. Curiosity led me to see that this was part of my early conditioning about how much happiness I could expect and deserved. This helped make sense of the situation. Curiosity is also a useful open approach of enquiry and antidote to any tendency to judge ourselves for our behaviour.
- Appreciation and Gratitude Such an inclusive feeling just writing those words. And there is so much to appreciate every second of the day! And we can start with the basics too. I just have to look out the window and I appreciate the trees.
Writing a gratitude list has been a regular discipline these last few years. I have found it to be an instant way of feeling at peace with how things are. Here’s a few basic ones in my immediate environment right now. I am grateful for:
- the warmth I feel right now
- this seat is very comfy
- the safety I am experiencing
- a house that is comfortable to live in
- my lovely friendly neighbours
- I am healthy
- I have access to the internet
- my chicken soup is almost ready
- I have enough money to live on
- spring is on the way