Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Tim, the Repentant Complainer

I love to complain. Just love it. Whinging and whining about all the bad things that have befallen poor widdle me.

I love it, but I'm finally starting to see how it is counterproductive, especially given my dedication to a more positive outlook.

I don't have much to complain about right now. My wife Violet and I recently celebrated our two-year anniversary, I am a published author, I have good friends, I have a new kitten named Karma (photos will come as soon as I figure out how to post them), and the Transformers movie is less than a month away.

And yet, get me started and off I go. I don't complain as much as I used to, but there is one subject I always jump for: bad jobs. I did a short job contract a couple of weeks ago, and my co-worker and I got to know each other by comparing and commiserating about our previous job experiences. The stories flowed out of me, stories of bad bosses and ridiculous business practices and negative job environments. And as I told those stories, I felt them.

Complaining about jobs puts me in a bad mood. If I was hurt or angered by them, it's as if it happened yesterday. Or five minutes ago. And that really doesn't do me any good.

It's not so bad when I laugh about things. If I talk about how stupid a boss was, or how insane a place was, I can make a joke out of it and we all laugh. However, my mind is still loaded with the negativity of the situation. It draws more negative thoughts to me, even if my mood remains jovial.

As a species, I think we are drawn by the pull of negativity. There's something about it that fascinates us. Action movies are popular, as is any story with a good conflict. Comedians get the best laughs by describing their observation and reaction to negative situations. Heck, I just wrote a comedy about the end of the world (Epoch)!

It's not all bad, though. Stories of overcoming negativity are vital. When we see, hear or read about someone going through a bad situation and coming out the other side, it gives us hope and leads by example. Negativity can be a force for good if harnessed properly.

I guess what I'm saying is, when I complain I feel I'm not harnessing it properly. I tend to dwell on old hurts, and whinging reminds me of all of them. I'm not a lost cause, though. I monitor my thoughts a lot more closely now, and keep my focus on what I want (instead of job situations I don't want). I'm winning the battle with my negative side, and I'm all the better off for it.

1 comment:

Bella Rossa said...

Oh! I have a helpful tip for this. Become a stand-up comedian. Pretty much everything that has ever earned me a roomful of laughs onstage has been mundane everyday whines slightly altered and crafted into what passes for jokes. Seriously. I whined about being easily sunburned last time around, and it got me big laughs. It's awesome.