Complaining and sunshine don’t mix.

Bill’s blog post about complaining got me reflecting and thinking. (No, really Zai? That never happens!) Relatedly, a few years back I had a year where it seemed a lot of complaining and backstabbing happened all at once. A friend poked around too much and managed to find somewhere private where I’d complained (anonymously) about her when we’d had a disagreement a long time previously and figured out it was me talking about her. People at my work (where I was new) were constantly dissatisifed and complaining about everyone else (I mean, chronically, and it was like an epidemic). People in my choir (including me) were secrectly complaining about and making fun of a few really annoying people and it was increasingly becoming more constant and less secret.

All these things at once made me realise that this was not how I wanted to be. Since then, I’ve tried to have much more integrity in how I behave in public and in private when speaking about other people.

But THIS year, I find myself wanting to go further. I find myself wanting to be more generous to people in thought and action.

Maybe I manage to complain about people less, but I want to actually feel annoyed with them less, I want to think less critically of others. I don’t mean that I want to be blind to the true nature of people and I don’t mean that I want to let them impose on me. I have had that happen in the past. I just mean that I wish to focus so much more on the positive in others and I wish to see their actions for their good intentions rather than the negative effect they may have on me. I’m finding this very difficult, but hopefully I can persist.

One obvious and important reason to try to change my reaction to things that irritate me is to improve my own wellbeing. It’s hard to have a sunshiney and happy default setting if I’m constantly getting worked up about little things, and this is part of a bigger attempt to be less negative in my thinking in general. The other reason stems a little from the idea of being a person of integrity. I realised at that time that it wasn’t enough to be thought a good person by others, it was even more important to me that I knew I was always a person of integrity. I realised that how I feel about myself and the way I behave in private is very important to me.

Recently, I’ve been feeling like I’m not the person I want to be in other ways. I don’t mean the ways that effect me personally, such as not being over-critical of myself or living a more physically healthy life, although they are also important. I mean that I’ve always wanted to be the kind of person who brings sunshine and happiness to others. You know those rare people who seem to be able to make everyone feel valued and included and seem to bring a warm glow with them? I want to be one of those people. 2012, the year of sunshine, birdies singing and holding hands and skipping through wildflowers, seems like the perfect year to start being one of those people. I feel that this won’t work unless I’m more generous to people in my private thoughts as well as my conscious actions. I don’t think it will work if I rely on remembering to act generously, appreciatively, inclusively and sunshiney to people. I think it will work if it is my habit to think that way about people.

Of course, I don’t deny myself the right to ever feel annoyed, hurt or upset by people. Sometimes these feelings are valid and must be expressed in order to be dealt with. I just think there are so many times when it seems easier to harp on how I’ve been wronged than to try to accept that someone, acting the best they could at the time, made a decision that aversely effected me.

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About Zaiene

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life I am inspired by so many different ideals of how to live a happy, fulfilled and productive life but struggle to get around to it. Large scale changes are intimidating and difficult to sustain, so this is my bite-sized life experiment. Each week*, I will find one thing in my life to drop and one thing to add. I will try to drop things that have a negative, unhealthy or over-absorbing effect on my life. I will try to add things that will have a positive, healthy, empowering or useful effect on my life. The experiment is to see whether I can cope with these changes and whether they really do improve my life. *(I began it as each weekend, as a less intimidating challenge. After about ten months, I felt that I wanted whole-week - well, Monday-to-Friday - challenges.)
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6 Responses to Complaining and sunshine don’t mix.

  1. Viv says:

    I don’t mean this in a counter-productive way- but I think you already ARE one of those people, Zai. Your kindness, support and thoughtfulness effuse through your personality, interactions with people and even this blog. Continual self improvement is a noble endeavour I relate to though, so I understand your post! xox V

    • Zaiene says:

      Oh that’s right, always trying to stick a spanner in the works, aren’t you? 😉
      That’s such a lovely thing to say! But I know I could do more, and I want it to be more in thought as well. For instance, we had the air conditioner on when I went to bed last night (thank goodness!) but when I woke early this morning I realised Dad must’ve got up even earlier and turned it off, but my room was really warm and I’d thought we’d have it on all night. So, instead of being able to go back to sleep, I was too hot and got up, tired and grumpy. At first, all I could think about was how annoying and inconsiderate it was of him to have turned it off and left me so uncomfortable. I felt irriated and kept dwelling on it. I want to be able to say – yes, it was annoying and yes, it put me out, but to let go of my irritation and to feel less blamey. I’m trying not to make things people’s fault and not to feel annoyed or angry at them for not making the right choices and think that they could have if they’d only taken the trouble to be a little more considerate!

  2. Bill says:

    “I want to actually feel annoyed with them less…to improve my own wellbeing.”
    Yes! Realizing how I suffer far, far more than the people I’m irritated with.
    Thanks for the blog mention. 🙂

  3. Bill says:

    Sorry to double comment, but laughing within myself at your reply to Viv. My wife and I share a residence with her mom. Her mom…, thinks she’s captain of the thermostat. Always getting up in the middle of the night, whether heat in winter or AC in summer, to turn it off, leaving everyone uncomfortable… This, among other things…, is a constant battle. (It’s quite possible that you and I are the same person…… 🙂

    Here’s a couple of links to older posts from my blog that might resonate:

    http://lifeonmyownterm.wordpress.com/2011/11/06/each-new-moment/

    http://lifeonmyownterm.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/relentless/

    • Zaiene says:

      I’m hopeless at remembering to reply to things, but I just wanted to thank-you for these comments, and for the links! I appreciate every comment made and, even if I often forget to acknolwedge them, it means a lot to me that people go to the trouble.

  4. Pingback: Don’t Step on My Sunshine « The Running Thriver

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