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  • David Flowers

Complaining


I hate winter, not because of the cold but because of the lack of sunlight. I get depressed every year and around February I feel like I’m going out of my mind. Usually I wake up every day and curse the weather. But last fall I decided I wasn’t going to complain about the weather this winter. Not once. It was hard at first, but it got easier. I would catch myself feeling upset and getting ready to complain, and would have to consciously choose not to. For some reason I initially felt the world was somehow missing out on something when I chose not to complain. But gradually I began realizing that I actually felt better about the weather when I didn’t criticize it.

It’s hard to stop complaining. Not only is it a way to express how crummy we might be feeling at a given moment, but it somehow gives us a feeling of solidarity with others who are complaining about the same thing. Frankly, one of the hardest things for me in giving up complaining (yes, my commitment to not complain about the weather is spreading to other areas of my life) is that I missed the companionship. As long as you are willing to complain, you will always be in abundant company.

But something happens when you stop complaining. You begin to have less to complain about. You realize that all the complaining you were doing didn’t make you feel better, but worse. You see that your complaints were creating a whole atmosphere of complaint and criticism and negativity about things that were out of your control and which you would have been better off accepting and learning to live with in the first place.

Can you pick one thing that you find really upsetting and irritating and resolve not to complain about it for a week? What would that one thing be?

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