Yesterday I was riding in a bus. There was a little girl, six or seven years old sitting across the aisle. For the duration of our short trip she was complaining to her mother about the girls she knew at school. In precise points; 1 – 2 – and so on up to 5, 7 and even 9 reasons she listed why she didn’t like or even hated those other little girls. I have to admit I heard one point which I thought was quite valid; her ‘friend’ would deliberately distract someone she was talking to away from her. That is a very astute observation indicative of a keen, sensitive and somewhat introspective mind. Her mother was patient, listening and giving tips to her daughter but I was saddened that she didn’t ask the girl to list as many things about her friends that she LIKED as well.
Complaining is an insidious affliction. It is distressing to see it take hold of someone so young. I know this from personal experience; complaining is a personal problem that has taken me years to overcome and I know I still do it entirely too much.
Complaining wears a groove in our brains, it creates an addiction of complaining and shifts our perception of the world and of our relationships in it. When you complain a lot you don’t notice the damage that it does to you or feel the way it drags on your energy field and your relationships.
The first time I had to acknowledge my own addiction I was riding an elevator with some work colleagues. Within a three floor trip I had complained about the weather, the heat in the elevator and a missed opportunity. One of my colleagues said, “Wow, you do complain a lot don’t you?” suddenly I heard myself every time I complained. It was a deeply entrenched habit, a habit that caused me to see just about everything from the point of view of – “What is wrong here?”
But I am blessed with great teachers and a sincere desire to break out of lifetimes of entrapment so I chose a very simple and effective cure for the disease; gratitude. Every time I caught a complaint working it’s way through the complain groove of my thoughts I would try to stop as quickly as possible and turn it into a thank you. Even if my complaint seemed justified and worthy I would insist on finding some thing about the situation to be grateful for. Sometimes it was just – how lucky and blessed I am to be here in this wonderful world and offered this unique opportunity to examine my own consciousness of this great world.
For me the proof is in the pudding, years of awareness and deliberate management of my attitude have bourn the fruit of contentment and a greater awareness of the power of gratitude not only to shift my state but even to shift my good fortune. Blessings abound for those who can see them and an attitude of gratitude instead of complaining creates the space to see and then seize those blessings.