I assume every millennial goes through virtually the same motions upon opening their eyes each morning. Slam your alarm clock, moan and groan for approximately 47.3 seconds, grab your iPhone off your nightstand, check Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and finally determine it’s time to roll out of bed. Yet as 2015 comes to an end, a new pivotal step (or question) was added into my daily routine: “What are people complaining about today?”
With each and every scroll through social media, you can find someone, somewhere, complaining about something. Granted, some of these complaints are actually worthwhile, but to be honest, a large majority makes me nervous for what’s to come in 2016.
Was the uproar truly necessary when Starbucks went with solid red cups this year instead of a festive design? Or how about a throwback to the white/gold or blue/black dress commotion? I can (shamefully) say that my friends and I probably debated, complained, and fought about the color of the dress for at least two days.
Everyone needs to vent once in a while- “Ugh traffic was so bad this morning”, “Ugh why is it raining”, “Ugh my wifi is soooo slow”. Don’t get me wrong, in now way am I above these petty complaints, and there’s nothing like a solid vent session. We can’t change these types of things, but perhaps we can change our outlook.
Then there are complains about things we can change- but if you can change it, why complain? Go do something about it.
With 2016 right around the corner, I feel that all of us (myself included) need to quit complaining and start appreciating.
Appreciate the fact that you have $6 to spend on an iced coffee from Starbucks.
Appreciate the fact that you have a device that can literally provide any information in the entire world at the tip of your fingers (yes, that includes information on “the dress” fiasco).
Appreciate that you have a reason to get out of bed; a stable job to go to, good friends to talk to, a loving family to come home to. Smaller than that, appreciate that you have a healthy, beautiful body, with arms and legs that allow you to even get out of bed and walk around.
Appreciate that yes it’s cold outside, but you have a warm place to live and a winter coat to shield you from freezing temperatures.
How many people out there would kill to have what you have? An extra $4 to spare, a warm coat, a healthy body- whatever it may be. Changing the way we think is easier said than done, but it starts with being mindful. Be mindful and aware of your thoughts, and you’ll begin to process those thoughts differently.
A couple weeks ago, I attended a yoga class where we went around the room and each had to say one thing we were grateful for. Simple, right? The catch was that no one could repeat anything that had previously been said. It started off basic: “friends”, “family”, “my dog”. But as we went around and had to dig deeper, I began to truly realize how many things we have to be thankful for. Things like clean water to drink, or the freedom to wear or say whatever we want are things that are so often taken for granted. I’ve begun to try an implement this exercise into my life, whether I’m laying in bed at night or when I first wake up in the morning.
With so many things to be thankful for, it seems that complaining is simply counteracts this appreciation.
Like I said before, in no way am I Mother Theresa. Bad things happen, dumb things happen, and sometimes the only response is to complain. Maybe sometimes it’s the only rational way to deal with whatever you may be going through.
Yet the next time you go to complain, ask yourself if you can approach the situation differently. Is it necessary? Can you live more purposefully, more thankfully?
Once you do, you may find that you can turn your complaint into something to be thankful for, and voila- problem solved. You’re welcome.