Ever take one of those colorblind tests with the circle of pink and green dots that make a number in the center? If you couldn't see the number, my condolences. You'll never be a pilot, and you might as well buy socks of all one color. If you could see the number, congrats! You're in the lucky 93% of the population who can tell your red from your green.
Why do I bring this up? Because that test points out a lot more than just a 26 (or an 8, or whatever). It shows us that we see exactly what we are looking for. Focus on a certain color and you see a number. But it's all just dots. Similarly, if we look for negativity in our lives, we will see it. But we can train ourselves to see all that's good in our lives, too. It's just a matter of perspective, isn't it?
You probably know someone who constantly complains about everything: their job, their weight, their relationships, their family, the weather, the government, the economy, the waiter, the service, the air quality... Amazing isn't it? How one person's life could be so chock-full of misery? You never hear these people say, "I sure am lucky I don't have to go get cancer treatments this afternoon!" or "Having a job in this economy sure is a blessing!" It can be draining just being near these people. They will suck the life energy right out of you, if you let them.
Since I have started this blog, I've noticed a subtle change in my mood. Okay, sometimes it's not so subtle; there are times when I feel downright euphoric after writing a post, or better yet, after someone tells me they loved reading it. Why? Because it just feels good to spend an hour thinking and writing positive, productive thoughts, and even better to then share those thoughts with others, hopefully spreading a tiny seed of joy. And it all starts with my thoughts.
You may have read this before, but it's a goody:
Watch your thoughts, for they become your words.
Watch your words, for they become your actions.
Watch your actions, for they become your habits.
Watch your habits, for they become your character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.
If we believe this (and I do), then we can assume thinking happy thoughts will lead us to a happy destiny. Sign me up!
I read a book awhile back entitled A Complaint Free World, by Will Bowen, which challenges the reader to go one month without complaining, criticizing, or gossiping. After one month, this new complaint-free lifestyle should become a habit. I had once attempted to give up complaining for Lent, back in my catholic days. That was WAY harder than sugar, chocolate, caffeine, television, alcohol, or anything else I ever shunned for forty days in my attempt to better myself though denial. I would have to get up and go GET a Hershey's kiss, or some Skittles, or a Diet Coke, or a martini, or the remote control for those other things. And by that time I would realize, "Oh yeah. Lent. Shoot." And I would go sit back down.
But complaining... that stuff comes right out of your mouth before you even think about it. Have I made it to a month yet? Ha. Will let you know when I do. But I will get there a lot sooner if I am trying. And as of today, I am. If you see me wearing the purple rubber bracelet, that's what it's for. I will post the link at the end to the website for Complaint Free Living. You can read about it there.
I will say that trying to avoid complaining really opened my eyes to how much of my thinking is negative. How often do we focus on something we can complain about, rather than on something we should be grateful for? At any given moment, there is something for which we can be grateful. If you don't believe me, go visit a burn ward at a hospital. Or the cemetery. Or the county prison. If you aren't in any of those places... be grateful.
So here is your assignment, should you choose to accept it: start the day tomorrow by making a gratitude list. Just write down as many things as you can think of that make you feel grateful. Five will do. Although, if you are really trying, you'll probably have quite a long list. Now, carry it with you all day. Whenever negative, complaining thoughts arise, whip that sucker out and remind yourself what else you have to focus on at that particular moment. If you are the praying type, then offer a little prayer of thanks for an item. If not, then just spend a moment in quiet gratitude. Either way, you will feel better than if you had spent those moments complaining, won't you?
Life is short. Look for the happy colored dots.
Here's your link: http://www.acomplaintfreeworld.org/