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There is this thing that has been going around FaceBook, you can see it in the image above. It encourages poeople to stop complaining for 24 hours. A month or two back I saw someone post it, so I shared, and decided to give it a go. It was a bit difficult at first, because there was a lot going on in my life right then that was annoying me, but after a few hours of being silent to avoid saying anything out of line, it got easier. I made it through the rest of the 24 hours without much fuss.
Of course, I took it to a higher level, and instead of just not complaining out loud for 24 hours, I also decided to try to eliminate unproductive thoughts during that time as well. Again, it was hard at first, but then it got easier. I actually kept it up for the better part of a week before I slipped. Trying to avoid unproductive thought and speech is part of my everyday way of life though, so it’s something that I’m always working on.
What gets me is that there are people who flat out said that they couldn’t do it. They weren’t even going to try. That’s really sad. They are so hooked on complaining and negativity that they couldn’t be bothered to try to go without it for a piddling twenty-four hours. I understand that life can get pretty hectic and frustrating, and the need to vent can surely exist. However, it’s a very worthy goal to try to at very least watch your tongue for a single day.
Complaining is really unproductive, though people seem to fail to grasp that concept. Bitching about what you don’t like rarely makes it better. It makes people angry, or makes them feel bad, and in some cases may cause a change in those you’re complaining about. Most of the time though, it does nothing good and only causes other problems to build. You need to be able to communicate constructively with others if you want to solve problems. You also need to be able to accept your responsibility in the situation, and be able to agree on a course of action that involves both give and take with all involved parties.
It’s also important to realize when complaining is absolutely unproductive. For example, complaining about what the president is doing. You can’t change him, and it’s unlikely that you can really speak to him and get any change to happen. I know, that makes you feel helpless and angry and you want to rant about it. The thing is, it won’t help. It won’t even make you feel better to complain and rage about things that are beyond your personal control. All it will do is make you angry, impair your thinking and your health (yes, complaining regularly actually has a negative impact on your health) and annoy others. What you can do though is quit complaining and take whatever personal actions you can to have a better life and institute social change.
When something is getting on your nerves, don’t complain. Instead, take a moment to think. Take a few deep breaths and calm yourself. Decide if there is anything you can actually do about the situation directly. If not, you can either let it go, or try to find an indirect way to make some desirable change. If there is something you can directly do, figure out how to accomplish that. If it involves personal action, then do it. If it involves another person, decide how to have a calm, productive conversation with them to try to achieve a mutually beneficial end. If you’re not sure, the let it go for the moment, move on to something more positive, and come back to the issue when you have a clear, calm head.
Eliminating unproductive thoughts is something that every single person needs to work on. We also need to be very careful about what we say. It’s not a matter of political correctness, but an issue of what you say always having an effect on other people. What we say can and does affect how others think and act, so we have to try to say the right things. What we think affects how we behave and interact with others, so we have to try to think the right things. I know that in our current society people think that such endeavors are a waste of time and energy, but I can assure you that they’re not. Working to become a better person is never a waste.
If you haven’t taken the 24-hour no complaining challenge, I encourage you to do it now. You can even come back and comment on this post after you do it and let me know how it worked for you. If you’re having a hard time with it, leave me a comment and I’ll do what I can to help. It’s so very important that we learn to control ourselves, I’ll do whatever I can to help people become just that little bit better.