Thursday, July 2, 2009
My life is terrific. Even if I momentarily decide it isn’t, it still is. I have nothing to complain about but if you give me a minute, I will. This is a bad habit and I want to put a lid on it. I made a decision to start keeping track of my crabbing tendencies in order to try to let this go.
My son ran in breathlessly from the backyard, “Mama! There are Daisy’s poos in the yard for you to pick up. Get some poo bags!” My reply, “I’ll get right on that,” wasn’t exactly a complaint but my follow-up, “Because everyone knows how much I love touching the poos,” probably qualifies.
My son and I were in the car on our way to summer school. A blue Chevy Impala idled in front of us in the left hand turn lane. The light was green. No oncoming traffic. The Impala was not moving, not turning, not nothing. I was about to help this delightful motorist with some gentle words when I realized that perhaps my vocabulary choices might be inappropriate in front of my 3-year-old passenger and would also fall into the complaining/soft cursing category. I said nothing. I thought of how hard it is to say nothing. I then realized that thinking, “it’s hard to say nothing” is a complaint and then I got trapped in a complaint mind loop.
Caught myself complaining via instant message. I was writing to my husband about the difficulty I was having getting Bob to go down for a nap. I have found that the difference between complaining and merely “reporting the facts” often has to do with the use of four-letter words in your “report”.
“Mama, want to go to the library now! Not later, now! I need M&M’s to make me feel better now! I need my dog shirt now!” Bob was on a roll.
“Enough with the whining,” I said. No mistaking my tone, I really whined this directive to my son. Then I sighed. (Wordless complaint.) This is pretty much exactly what they are not talking about when they refer to good behavior modeling.
I have heard that it takes 30 days to form a pattern and 90 days to break a habit. I have taken a leisurely 44 years to form my complaining pattern. I will be shocked if it takes a mere 89 more days to break the habit. For now, I am finding that this level of self-awareness is causing me to talk a lot less and no one seems to be complaining about that.
Labels: self improvement