Complaining, complaining, complaining. For some people, it’s their job. (And they’re good at it.) They complain about the weather, the noise level, and their personal comfort. They complain about their job, their kids, and how the world’s been unfair to them. In fact, they pretty much complain about everything. If you didn’t know better, you’d think they have real problems, but the fact is they don’t. Their biggest problem is that they complain too much.
As Sydney J. Harris, the American journalist said, “When I hear somebody sigh, ‘Life is hard,’ I am always tempted to ask, ‘Compared to what?’ ”
What’s the Problem?
We all have situations that get under our skin, but are they problems? It depends on your view.
It’s a nuisance when you have to get somewhere and the person in front of you drives slowwwwwly. It’s a pain when your neighbor wakes you up with his lawn mower or your umbrella breaks in a driving rain. It’s an annoyance when the restaurant table is sticky, the person in front of you reclines her seat, or the deer eats all your new plantings. It’s aggravating when they close a driving lane, your phone autocorrects your text “massage,” or you spill ketchup on your new pants.
Although these things may be upsetting, the way you react to them is key. The fact is … no one’s hurt, the event isn’t life changing, and you’ll probably forget about it by the end of the day.
Some people, however, view irritations as problems. They allow nuisances to get them into a funk, make them lash out at friends and family, or turn a perfectly good day into a lousy one. The truth is, some people have “real” problems. Be grateful you’re not one of them today.
Be Positive: Attitude Makes All the Difference
Do you turn irritations into problems? If so, here are some ideas worth considering:
Be positive. Some people choose to see clouds on a sunny day. Keep in mind that a positive mental attitude can improve your health, enhance your relationships, increase your chances of success, and add years to your life. So view the glass as half-full rather than half empty.
Be realistic. If you expect miracles, you’re bound to let yourself down. The key is to set ambitious, yet realistic expectations. The philosopher Voltaire warned against letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. That advice still holds true today.
Be mindful. Some things are beyond your control. If you can’t change a situation, change the way you look at it.
Let it go. Don’t dwell on nuisances. If you have to blow off steam, count to ten and move on. The only way an annoyance can bring you down is if you let it.
Keep things in perspective. Don’t let a minor inconvenience ruin your whole day. Remember the difference between an annoyance and a problem.
Are You Creating Your Own Problems?
Things happen. Your cable provider places you on hold, your car needs repairs, your Internet goes down (ugh). Get over it. You can’t change the weather, and it’s hard to change people if they’re not willing participants. So, next time you’re confronted by an inconvenience, remember … life goes on. Don’t let a minor hassle affect your mood or interrupt the flow of your day. Negative thinking will get you down, and complaining will only make matters worse.
As Maya Angelou, the Pulitzer Prize-nominated poet said, “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” So the next time a car cuts you off, the store runs out of your favorite ice cream, or someone shouts on his cell phone, remember to think, “No problem.”