When I lived in San Francisco, I used to meet my friend Jennifer at The Grove – a quaint cafe in the Upper Filmore District. When I first moved to California, Jennifer and I worked together and saw each other regularly, but by this time life had taken us in different directions and keeping up required effort.
One evening, after spending a couple of hours enjoying dinner and tea, I was walking home. Along the way, I stopped suddenly and wondered, why had I just spent my evening telling my dear friend everything going wrong with my life? This seemed especially odd to me since these “going wrongs” we’re such a small fraction of my life experience at that time.
All in all, life was great. I was thrilled about what I was doing and where I was going. The focus of that conversation, however, was the 5-10% of my life that was challenging.
I started to wonder if I did this often so I began watching myself. Sure enough, when mom would call, we’d spend the time chatting about this headache or that one. And when I’d have drinks with a friend on Friday, the conversation was this inconvenience or that one.
What’s up with commiserating? Look at the word closely… commiserate … be miserable together.
Really? Is that the choice I make? Heck no!
Ring a bell? If not, take a closer look. We are culturally primed to commiserate, so unless you’ve done some major upgrading to that program, you likely fall into this habit.
At its most extreme, this pattern plays out as the person committed to being a victim. You know that person! The one who blames anyone and everyone for all that isn’t right in the world and, especially, in that person’s life.
I DARE YOU TO BOLDLY SHARE WHAT IS GREAT ABOUT YOUR LIFE!
Few would dispute the notion that you get more and more of what you focus on, whether that’s pain, financial struggle, jerks in line, … or loyal friends and family, loved ones, or random acts of kindness. So choose the objects of your attention and conversation wisely!
Try a full week of absolutely no complaining. I am taking this challenge, and many who joined the Facebook group have taken this challenge with me. What better time than the week of Thanksgiving!>
I invite you to join us. Commit to seven days without complaining – with the words you speak andthe ones you just think. Focus instead on all the things you love and appreciate about your life, and then watch what happens. Notice how you feel. If life seems better, let your commitment continue for a month, a year, forever.