I'm sad to say that I haven't read The Happiness Project book in a few weeks. My hubs and I are in the middle of a housing transition so it is probably in a box somewhere. Sigh.
But I've still been thinking quite a bit about happiness and how I can improve my day-to-day disposition. I feel like I've done a lot better in regards to my worrying and control issues. However, I noticed one thing that I do regularly that is seriously getting in the way of my happiness: complaining.
I came to this realization through an unlikely source: the comedian Louis C.K. His stand-up is not for the faint of heart, but I think he has some great insights into American culture. I've been listening to his comedy on the way home from work and yesterday he did a bit about how much people complain about things that we really shouldn't be complaining about. He goes on about how today we have the most amazing technology and it's still not good enough. He says that you rarely hear people saying great things about their phones, for example. We complain when a text message takes too long to send or a picture takes too long to download.
"It's going into space! Can you give it a second?" he implores the audience.
"Even the worst phone in the world is still a miracle!"
I laughed because it is so true. I complain about my iPhone all the time. And then it got me thinking about all the other things I've been complaining about recently...
Things I've Complained About in the Last Week
- The Facebook app taking too long to load on my phone
- A picture not uploading to Instagram
- Being late to a movie
- Having to sit in the front row of the movie theater because we were late
- The comforter on my bed being too warm
- The rain
- Paying $6 to park somewhere
- Someone taking longer than 24 hours to respond to an email
- A rude customer
- Slow Wi-fi
- Having to do work...at work
- "I don't have time to do anything!"
Yikes. I was annoyed at myself just typing out this list. And these are just the things I remember complaining about! I'm sure the list is far more extensive than I care to admit.
I process my feelings verbally, so not complaining is really hard for me. In the moment, I don't see it as a bad thing but I also don't realize how I must sound to other people. Does my husband really want to hear me complain about the apps on my iPhone? Probably not.
I'm not saying we should totally suppress all feelings of dissatisfaction, disappointment or anger. Not at all. BUT I do think that I create unnecessary feelings of unhappiness for myself. Was it really so terrible to have to sit in the front row at the movie theater? Of course not. Yet I distinctly remember leaning over to my husband and whispering, "This is the worst." I'm so embarrassed those words came out of my mouth!
I think it would be beneficial for me to take an inventory of my complaints at the end of each day. Nothing formal, just a mental catalog of what I keep whining about. Maybe I'll start to see a pattern and instead of continuously complaining, try to come up with a solution.
Now that I realize how much I complain about silly things that don't matter, I hope I can push those little negative thoughts aside more often and focus on the good instead. I'm sure those around me will be happier and I'll be much happier too.
Dear Reader, I challenge you to take inventory of your recent complaints! What are some silly things you find yourself complaining about? When do you find yourself complaining more than usual? What are some ways you've learned to combat your compulsion to complain? I can't be the only one who struggles with this, right? Let me know in the comments!