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.