Imagine the scene:
You see someone across the aisle; you're out shopping--maybe you're browsing dishes and s/he's contemplating stationary. Your interaction has already begun; you've smiled, waved, given your warmest hello, and sincerely asked, "How's everything going?" with the full intention to listen, converse, visit, and celebrate with the person about her/his beautiful life. You've been friends for ______ (amount of time) and you know they've got something great to share since last you spoke.
Instead, something entirely unexpected--and frankly unwelcomed--happens. S/he hits you with the laundry list of woes in her/ his life. "I don't like my job," (or) "I had a terrible workout," (or) "I have a weird rash," (or) ...
It's about the moment that you conclude saying, "...going..." and you I see their face contort into negativity mode that you realize what you've done. You've unintentionally unleashed a monster and given it a platform on which to pour out complaints. S/he my not know they're dumping on you, but they, in fact, are. And, it's not cool.
Come to think of it, I've heard people mention tactics for situations just like this one and people inclined to do just this... Instead of "How's everything going?" or "How was your day?" or even "How're you feeling?" some people have resorted to simply saying, "Hi" when they see this type of person. (Or avoid speaking to them altogether. Have you ever witnessed this? Or noticed it in your own interactions? Pay attention next time you are greeted. Anyone who has felt this from you in the past may have modified their speech around you.) Anything else will lead to a self-induced word vomit, and ain't nobody got time for that...
So, what's a human to do? This person might think they're constantly "keepin' it real," and to a select few people who know them well, love them always, and truly want to know EVERYTHING going on in her/ his life, they might be well within their rights to complain, but the question then becomes, Why? (!)
Do your complaints somehow make things better?
Does the enumeration of ailments/ toe-stubs/ missed deadlines/ complaints about your spouse/ children/ parents/ coworkers improve your situation?
Today, I'd like to assert that no, the complaints do not make things better. The negativity you put out actually produces and attracts more negativity. ("Misery loves company" idea...)
I'm not saying I will never complain again, but I am suggesting we all work to look for the positive in our lives. I recommend, instead of telling me everything that's wrong, tell me what's right! I won't think you're bragging, I'll know you're celebrating. Life is going well, and even in times that it might not feel like it is, there is ALWAYS something for which to be grateful. (That's why, on my Facebook page, I've started listing things I'm thankful for, one day at a time, for a "Thankful November.") Life is beautiful and that wonder deserves a little airtime, too.
Next time you see a person you haven't seen in a while, tell them everything that's right!
What do you have going right in your life today?
Labels: Go Ahead--Try It!, Life, Mind & Body