31 Days of Soul Searching – Day 7 {Complain}

Day 7

Jumping into Day 7 of our soul searching journey today! The end of the weekend and the beginning of a new week often brings about an unfortunate trigger for me. “I’m tired”, “wish the weekend was longer”, and “don’t want to work today” thoughts swarm my noggin the moment my alarm goes off! 

Can you relate?

Oh, how I tend to {complain} on a Monday! And other days in between as well.

My complaining isn’t always out loud so others can hear. It is often just thoughts inside my head. Unintentional, self-defeating, focus-stealing thoughts. These thoughts may begin as a small seed of negativity, but they sure can sprout up in unpleasant and unexpected ways, just like the innocuous weeds we guard against in our yards. Think for a moment about the seeds you are sowing through your thoughts. 

Do you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts about your circumstances from time to time? Thoughts that focus on your frustrations or challenges surrounding your financial situation, your health, your key relationships with family or friends, your home, your car, your appearance, your intellect, your job, your boss, your co-workers, your anything? Yep, me too sometimes.

But here’s the thing with that – each complaint breathes life into the frustrations and those frustrations quickly multiply the more life you breathe into them.

I am not saying we should all go around with a perma-grin, ignoring everything that is wrong in our lives by any means. I am simply saying that when we complain – out loud or in our thoughts, intentionally or sub-consciously – we are contributing to our human tendencies toward negativity.

Think about the most recent disagreement you had with someone you care about. Do you have a situation in mind? Now think about the thoughts that ran through your head while you were irritated with them. Were all those thoughts directly linked to whatever valid grievance you may have initially had with them? Or did other interesting and uninvited thoughts pop in there too somehow?

Perhaps the kind of thoughts you had were about how their outfit didn’t match that day, how they had messy hair, how they never remember to put the toilet seat down, how they always leave crumbs on the counter, how they can’t seem to be as nice to you as they are to everyone else, or how they only talk to you when they need something. Maybe those unrelated thoughts creeped in there too?

Suddenly the issue you had with that person is much bigger than before. Our minds do some very interesting things when we plant seeds of negativity inside them. That one small seed just grows and grows and spreads and spreads until soon, you are unable to recognize anything positive in the person or in the situation.

Now that you can recognize the flare up in action, think about times when the person you are complaining about is yourself. Those thoughts are not only negative and unpleasant, but downright destructive.

So how do we avoid all that complaining though?

There may not be a foolproof way to avoid our complaining all together, but let’s focus on reducing those toxic thoughts for our own well-being.

First, if we are aware of our complaints at the onset, we can exercise some self-control over them. Key in on your personal complaint patterns to be proactive.

Second, we need to consciously replace those negative thoughts with something more positive. I like to think of something I am grateful for in those moments or something that I appreciate or admire in that person to steer my stinkin’ thinkin’ in the right direction.

Lastly, we should turn our self-complaints into compliments. If we celebrated our strengths with as much focus as we condemn our weaknesses, just think of the confidence we could build! And when we learn to do that with ourselves, then we can surely learn to do that with others as well.

My complaints may be small and subtle, but they have a lasting impact on my state of mind. I am curious how your complaints impact your life…

What areas of your life do you tend to complain about most?

What changes can you make in your circumstances to reduce your complaints?

If you are unable to change your circumstances, how can you think about things differently?

What is the risk to your well-being if you allow your complaints to continue?

Thank you for your continued companionship on this soul searching adventure! I have really enjoyed hearing your feedback about this series and encourage you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

*This is the 7th post in a 31 day series on Soul Searching. To follow the series from the beginning, simply click here and you will be directed to the introductory post which contains links to each day’s topic.

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