Recently, I had the privilege to present a session to some communication students at the University of Rhode Island in a class taught by my former student Gail Lowney Alofsin. I talked to them about complaining – not about how to complain, but rather about how to create a world without complaints. The topic originated from a book and video by William Bowen entitled Complaint Free World. In today’s climate and situations, it is an important message for all of us to hear as we continue to build relationships while trying to stay healthy and keep a positive attitude.
Here are a few of the takeaways the students voiced:
“I didn’t realize that I/ we complain so much.”
“[I learned] the difference between a complaint and stating a fact.”
“We need to try and find a solution, don’t just focus on the problem.”
“The more we train our brain to think positive thoughts, the happier we will be.”
“Complaints are very destructive.”
This short session was meant to help the students become aware of the fact that we can create a complaint free world, even if it is only in our own area of the world. I believe that they can lead by example.
As I was preparing to talk to the students, I couldn’t help but think of Moses and the Israelites wandering in the desert. Even though Moses brought them out of slavery, the Israelites still had complaints. I wonder why we sometimes continue to complain even when we apparently have so much to be grateful for? Why do we complain so much? Don’t most of us have the things we need, even if they aren’t all the things we want? Have we taken to social media platforms to complain? Are we capable of listening to another’s opinion different than our own? Or does a heated discussion ensue? Lots of questions.
For me, I have had to learn to listen more carefully and respect the other’s opinion even if we disagree. Judgement is not mine to make. Can I remain kind even when I don’t agree with someone? Can I find our common ground? A lot of deep breathing and prayer are definitely necessary. Jesus gives us the perfect example of listening while being kind and compassionate. We just need to stop and be aware.
This week I challenge you to pay attention to how much you complain. Are you complaining about the weather, your job, your family, or your face mask? Can you turn that complaint into a thought about something positive like the coming fall colors or gratitude for a job that helps care for your family? A few deep breaths and a prayer will help!
Till next week,