“I thought complaining made me appear sensitive, insightful, and intelligent.” I actually read this confession in a Carlos Castaneda book. But, unfortunately, he is not the only one who has held this erroneous belief. From reading Facebook and blog posts, it seems most people believe it, or else they don’t care if others know how petty and immature they are.
Sub-consciously, I must have believed complaining sounded smart too, because I certainly never missed an opportunity to populate the airspace with my static. It took massive energy to learn to check my negativity at the door and keep conversations productive, but what a difference it made…for those who had to listen to me.
We are born to be free, right? ( Or was that born to be wild?) Anyway, here’s what I’m glad to be free of…
- Fear – The biggest, baddest thief of all good. I was just thinking this morning that no matter what happens to me, my responsibility still remains the same; love people and trust God. So…I don’t have to fear any circumstance or condition.
- Guilt – I practice forgiving others (and myself) daily
- Negativity – I am replacing negativity one thought at a time.
- Hatred – I refuse to take this poison.
I am also glad for countless other freedoms, but acutely aware that those freedoms cannot be fully appreciated without these first four.
When my daughter Sydney came to visit, she caught me on several occasions saying negative things about my own appearance. Then she said, “Mom, my bad habits of self-criticism and disdaining my body have obviously come from you and I am working hard to stop that unproductive behavior.”
What a good reminder for me to:
- Be aware of my negative chatter to myself
- Be less critical of my perceived flaws
- Be more grateful for the body I have been given
- Accept and love myself as I am
- Remember that the things I say about myself have a longterm impact, not only upon me, but also upon those people in my path.
What a fool I have been to waste my breath and energy…and the energy of others…on something so small.
I had a sudden revelation this week.
Fourteen years after leaving the restaurant business, I finally fully appreciate the difficulty my bosses had with me. Those I thought to be heartless money-grubbers who had lost touch with reality (especially when they demanded better performance from me), have turned out to be decent human beings who were merely looking for leaders and hoping that I would rise above the crowd.
How much easier my life would have been had I acknowledged this and given them the benefit of a doubt instead of insisting on the vilification of “the boss.”
Life lesson: If doors of opportunity do not swing open for us, it may because we have bolted them from the inside.
Yesterday, I delivered a workshop and many people come up afterwards to tell me what a difference it had made for them.
Then, while in the restroom, I overheard two ladies saying negative things about me.
In the past I would have focused on their comments and decided the day had been a failure. I would have beat myself up all the way home, trying to figure out how I could have done a better job. Then, I would be depressed.
But not now.
Today, I say, I am making a difference. I will improve as I go. I will focus on the good, the encouraging and the hopeful.
Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.
Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.
– Helen Keller
While standing in line to check my luggage, a fellow passenger seemed frustrated with the wait. I said, “I’ve heard they are getting customer service consulting from Qantas, but I guess it hasn’t kicked in yet.”
Unfortunately, the clerks at the counter overheard my comment and I pretty much asked for what happened next. They basically ignored me and went out of their way to make sure my service was slower than before.
Seemingly harmless casual complaints like this are not harmless.
Just another reminder for me; 1) To speak for intended as well as unintended audiences, and 2) To weigh the VALUE of my words before I speak them.
I want my words to build…not tear down.
…people will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou