November 17, 2011

stop complaining, Bonnie

Recently I overheard someone complain about something and I was hit by a strong realization:  When people complain they often sound ungrateful, which means that when I complain I often sound ungrateful.  (You're probably amazed by my tardiness in making this realization.) Since that moment I have spent a lot of time mulling over complaining - especially when it comes to doing so in a Facebook status.

Now, I do think that some things are okay to complain about.  Your kid just puked on you, you lost some money, you were up all night and now you're exhausted, someone didn't treat you well.  So to say, "Urgh... my kid just puked one me!" well, I can understand that.  Sometimes we're not really complaining, really we're just looking for some empathy and I don't think there's anything wrong with that, either.  It's more of a one time comment than anything.

Much different though is the person who, say, just got a really nice job - good salary, benefits, working for a good company - and yet they complain on almost a weekly basis about some aspect of that job.  "What are you complaining for?  You have a great job!" I want to yell at them, and sometimes yell at the computer.

BUT, I have noticed that the people who complain the least are the ones whose feeds I don't hide.  So this person, instead of saying, "This is going to be a horrible day - I've been up all night!*" might say, "Both kids are up before 6:30 and I could have slept til noon**!"or something else that is lighthearted.

Even better are the people who don't complain at all.  I am trying to make this change in my life, starting first on Facebook and this blog.  It is possible for me to convey a point about how frustrated/angry/hurt I am and not complain.  It is even possible to be lighthearted about such events.

All of this sounds kinda hard to me - which isn't a complaint, just a statement - but I think I can do it!  I'm gonna do it!   

Cheerfulness is often a cloak which hides a life of sacrifice, continual union with God, fervor and generosity. A person who has this fight of cheerfulness very often reaches a great height of perfection.  Mother Teresa

A related and better written article by Jennifer Fulwiler on how we over-value our opinions.

*I'm pretty sure that's an actual former Facebook status of mine.
**This is an actual Facebook status from high school friend, Megan.


  1. My last Bible Study that we were doing went through the book, "Choosing Gratitude - Your Journey to Joy". It deals with attitude and how it's a choice to be positive. It's really good. I haven't finished it yet as we moved in the moddle of the study, but if you would like to borrow it you are more than welcome to when I am finished.

  2. I am totally with you on this one. I think as SAHM's it's hard sometimes to stay positive on the interwebs (fb particularly), because we're alone all day with kids and we feel the need to vent to other adults. But the truth is no one really wants to read about the bitter hardships of motherhood in status updates. I'm definitely guilty of doing it sometimes, but I do try to err on the side of at least making it funny if I have to complain about something. I'm not sure if I do a good job or not, you can tell me. :) The nice thing is that when you rephrase something crappy that happened into a funny/lighthearted status update, it actually relieves some of the tension and makes you feel better. So, yeah, I think the anti-complaining effort is a good thing all around, for your followers but also for you.

  3. This is great and I couldn't agree with you more! I try so hard to be postive and when I blog about something that went wrong I try to do it in a funny lighthearted way.

    I just yesterday stopped following a blog that I feel is very negative and and complains all the time. Even though much of it is trying to be funny, I've had enough. I've never been bothered by one of your blogs though. :)