“See if you can catch yourself complaining, in either speech or thought, about a situation you find yourself in, what other people do or say, your surroundings, your life situation, even the weather. To complain is always nonacceptance of what is. It invariably carries an unconscious negative charge. When you complain, you make yourself into a victim. When you speak out, you are in your power. So change the situation by taking action or by speaking out if necessary or possible; leave the situation or accept it. All else is madness.”
– Eckhart Tolle
Complaining didn’t change my life. Action did. For many years I fell into the habit of complaining about – well everything. My negative energy was doubled in the retelling of my woes to whomever would listen. I was miserable and looking back I’m sure the people listening to me were also. I thought if I didn’t complain I would become complacent about what wasn’t working in my life. But it was the complaining that kept me deep in a pattern of negativity. I didn’t have the heart, hope, or energy to step into a new way of being.
Inspired by Eckart’s quote above I gave up complaining. When I did I was able to get the leverage I needed to make decisions that released the pattern of negativity I’d spun over the years. I understood nothing outside of my own thoughts could affect my mood. I accepted things as they were and could objectively take action to makes changes. I turned my expectations into appreciations. And I learned how to respond instead of react. Thank you to the teachers who helped me find my way back to happiness through their wisdom and words: Tara Brach, Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie, Esther Hicks, and Tony Robbins, to name just a few.
A powerful tool I use every day is to ask myself, “Is this a loving thought?”- towards myself, others, or the world. If it’s not I let it go and immediately think of something to be grateful for about who I am, who others are, or something positive about the world. I choose to focus on what’s working, instead of what’s broken. And what unites us, instead of what divides us.