Thursday, November 4, 2010

Small steps toward ecstacy

You know the word “suck”? It’s an awful word. My mom tried to teach me that very lesson repeatedly when I was younger. She also tried to teach me not to swear. Not as a slight to her parenting, but rather more as a testament to my stubbornness, “suck” became a part of my linguistic lexicon. So did swearing. Early and often. With sarcasm.

Did I mention often?

Here’s the thing though, using those words, perpetuating even the most remotely negative event or thought and then punctuating it with even more negativity? Didn’t do a darn thing for me.

So I made a change. Just a little one at first. I decided to stop complaining (as much) in public forums, and, if I did so, it must be funny and make someone laugh. I started with Facebook. When I wanted to write something about needing coffee, being tired, how awful the weather was, grumble, grumble, groan and whine I just didn’t. Sometimes, if I was especially glum I would search for the positive in the situation and post that instead.I made an active choice to choose my words wisely...which is a tall task for a talker...

Then it became habit.


You may follow me on Facebook or Twitter. You may have also seen that I posted the other day “Celebrating a grey day by working ahead: 50+ pumpkin pancakes done, double batch of muffins done, soup is on, moving on to lunches…” And I really was glad for the grey – because it helped me focus on what I really wanted to get done.I got it done. I feel better for that and the grey turned into impressive blue skies.

I'm not saying you should limit yourself. You are entitled to complain. You are entitled to feel like your complaints are valid (there will always be someone to say someone has it worse than you). If you are in a situation where you need to complain by all means, call a friend, talk to someone. I did last night, in fact. But, if it helps you, and if it takes some negativity out of the world, maybe consider your complaints.

It’s self-centered, actually. I don’t want to see/hear complaining so I try to keep mine to a minimum. I want to be happy so I say happy things. Maybe it’s entirely egotistical even: I want to be happy.

I want to be happy.

I want to be happy.

You want to be happy. I know you do.


Whining about needing more sleep won’t make me happy. Remembering that my bed is there, luxurious, delicious, snuggle-rific, decidedly delightful at the end of the day? That will make me happy.

When I was little my mom would get into bed in the middle of the day for a nap, under the covers and everything, then in the most joyous, primal way would toddler-like wiggle-kick-squirm-and-squeal in joy that we were in bed and going to take a nap. We still do it. (Oh my gosh am I overwhelmingly craving my bed now!)

That is what life is about: squirming with delight, not slumping with apathy.

Sure, I still swear. I still complain. I’m much more apt to in a conversation than I like, but I try. Choosing not to complain as often though, not to vocalize (virtual or out-loud) negativity - it helped me reframe my perspective, to choose to see good again.

It’s amazing how much of life can come back to simple lesson:
  • Think before you speak.

  • Be kind to others.

  • You can choose to be happy.*

  • Swearing is, often, unsavory. So is the word “suck”.

But darn it all anyway. My mom was right. Again.

On a similar but separate note, this is very much a place I feel like I am right now. It's really worth the watch. Set aside 20 minutes and maybe bring a cup of tea. She's funny, engaging, and has some amazing things to say about being alive:

* I do not say this to discount depression or chemically-influenced states such as those. Please, I have had my own battles. Post-partum depression DOES exist. If you feel like you need help in this area, please, reach out. There is help available.

1 comment:

Sandie {ABL} said...

There is a church here, just north of the city, that started this complaint-bracelet movement. The idea is a simple one: Start wearing the bracelet (it is just a purple, rubber bracelet that they'll send to anyone who requests one) on one wrist, then anytime you complain about something and catch yourself, move the bracelet to your other wrist. Keep moving the bracelet from wrist to wrist each time you complain. At first, it will probably be many times per day. But as you become aware of your complaining, you start taking steps to correct/stop you don't move the bracelet quite so often. The goal is to go 30 days without moving the bracelet once. If you can stop complaining for 30 days and never have to move the bracelet, they say non-complaining (contentment/peace) has become a habit and you can stop wearing the bracelet, unless, of course, you begin to backslide into complaining again.

Phew! That was a lot to write, but it seemed pertinent to this post & their bracelet movement has affected hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. I wondered if you'd ever heard of it? Just thought you might be interested :)

Now that I think about it---I should write a post about this and share the idea with others as well. It really is a good idea.