I don’t know her favorite foods and I make her eat carrots before she gets dessert, yet she doesn’t complain. I probably don’t cut her sandwich the way she likes it and I bet I don’t play with her as often as she would like, but you’ll never hear her complain. I lay her down at night and wonder if she thinks the mattress is too soft or too hard. Is the pillow she lays her pretty blonde curls on as comfy as the pillow she was using at home? I wouldn’t know because I never hear her complain. I know my hugs aren’t the same as her mommy’s and her brother and sister can’t kiss her good night, but you will not hear her complain. Her whole world has been flipped upside down in a matter of seconds when she was placed to live with us, total strangers, yet she never complains. I know she misses her Mommy, bubby and sissy because I can hear her talking to them on the play phone when she is alone. She just turned three and I know she has to be confused, hurting, angry, bitter, upset, and sad, but you would never know because she doesn’t complain. She has every right to scream, “THIS ISN’T FAIR!” but she doesn’t–she doesn’t complain.
There is so much I can learn from a tiny three-year old. What if I was told that every time I complained, I had to write it on a one dollar bill and throw it in a jar for someone else to spend? Oh how my complaining would decrease! After thinking about this for several days, I decided to do an experiment and live in this hypothetical world in which each complaint would cost me one dollar. I wanted to see if I could go 24 hours without complaining, or at least be more mindful and try to complain less.
So I picked Sunday. Why Sunday? Monday’s are never good days to decide to quit complaining; Tuesday’s sometimes feel like Monday’s; Wednesday’s are just ‘ehh’ and there is usually a lot of house cleaning to tackle; Thursday’s are busy with grocery shopping and I would be setting myself up for failure to not complain on that day; Friday’s are hectic because laundry is usually piled up again and I watch several kiddos throughout the day; Saturday’s the hubs is home which means cups are left out, pillows are off the couch, jackets are not hung up, dirt is tracked in from outside, crumbs are on the counter from lunch (you get my drift), therefore this leaves me with Sunday. Also, since I attend church on Sunday’s, I thought I might be more holier-than-thou…? But it was a mega fail! By noon, I had well over
4, 6, okay 8…9ish complaints. Some I had spoken out loud, others I had said in my head. Regardless, I discovered if it were true and I owed a dollar for each complaint, I would be broke within 24 hours. As it turns out, I’m quite the complainer (not easy to type).
From 8am until 2pm, I complained about everything from the clothes that no longer fit due insulin resistance caused by PCOS, to the hair I find annoying on my chin (once again, thank you PCOS), to the Hubs leaving early for church, to the placement of where Wal-Mart keeps their milk (why in the very back? seriously?), to how they were also out of the Frito Scoops (again). I didn’t stop there with my pettiness because once I got home, I complained about where our dishwasher is located in the kitchen (I was going to elaborate on this one but then realized I would still be complaining) and how Goldilocks (our foster child) asks 90 questions in a 30 minute time frame. I even got on the phone with my Mommers and started grumbling, murmuring, fault-finding, and complaining for over ten minutes about other randomness.
I believe going through a day without complaining about anything would qualify as a miraculous occurrence. But it is something we should always strive to do.
When I allow myself to fall prey to this kind of bad attitude, it keeps me in the circumstance that I want to get out. I once looked up the definition for complaining and one of the words used to describe “complain” was “remain”. Each time we complain about what we don’t have or what others have that we don’t, we are choosing to remain in our negative circumstances by staying in a negative frame of mind.
Why can’t I be more like the three-year old who somehow understands the concept that complaining about a situation will only cause her to live in the negative aspects of it? Why can’t I see that murmuring only prevents me from seeing all the blessings I do have in life? Why is it so natural and easy for complaints to fly out of my mouth but thankfulness and thoughts of contentment take work and effort?
Since I failed my experiment and I am a perfectionist, I’m going to try again tomorrow and on a Monday and I might even extend it until
Wednesday Tuesday…GASP! I know! CrAzY! But I like a challenge. For every time I complain, I have to place a dollar in the jar and immediately say something that I am thankful for instead.
How about you? Can you go 24 hours without complaining?