How to stop complaining!

Posted by James Hahn on

Saint Jerome

I'm a melancholic person.  I'm Eeyore and Puddle-glum rolled into one.  My favorite hobby/habit?  Complaining.  If you know anything about the melancholic personality you know that they generally see the world as it is.  This, in its self is not a bad thing.  However, melancholics have this nasty tendency to also idealize and see the world as it should be.  Therein lies the problem.  In one instance I can both see the world as it is and how it should be...let the complaining begin....

No, of course I don't like this about myself.  I see the reality that I complain too much and I idealize and dream of not complaining.  When I see the discrepancy, well, I complain that I complain to much (insert dog chasing tail picture here).

I have been working on changing myself and recently stumbled across a tool to help me do this.  The basic idea is to train yourself not to complain and to do so for as long as you can, 21 days is my goal.  This is done by wearing a simple rubber bracelet or rubber band, silly band, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati band, or something that you can easily move from one arm to the other.

First, place the band on the arm of your choice and then go about your day.  If you find yourself complaining, switch to the other arm and start over.  Your goal is to keep it on one arm for as long as you can.  Start with hours and move on from there.

I don't think it's enough to simply not complain either.  I'm trying to train myself to not only not complain but to come up with solutions to the things I want to complain about.  Some examples may help.  Instead of complaining about my computer always freezing up and needing a reboot, smacking the keyboard, and uttering four-letter words, I try to stop, refrain from complaining and look for a solution.  I may need to remove files, run some cleaning software or even get a new computer but I can do all of that in a positive way, without complaining.

In the area of other human beings, it can be a little more difficult and require more charity.  It has required me to either keep my mouth shut or make excuses for the actions of others.  For instance, the car in front of me is trying to turn left across traffic.  Rather than turn from the turn lane, they stay in my lane making me wait.  My first reaction is to complain about this so-and-so who can't drive but I catch myself and say, "maybe the driver doesn't realize there is a turn lane, it is dark.  Maybe they can't drive well at night, I know sometimes I have difficulty."  This sort of attitude is more charitable and makes me feel much better than I would had I given into the rage.

Give it a try if you like, it's easy, cheap, and the rewards are phenomenal!

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How to get better at prayer.
  1. Set a prayer appointment - Set a time on your calendar each day to meet and speak with God.
  2. Slowly increase your prayer time. - Don't jump in with an hour right from the get-go.  Build up your "tolerance" so to speak.
  3. Commit - to praying and slowly increasing your prayer time for 30 days.  Mark off the days on your calendar.  If you miss a day, jump right back in, don't give up.
  4. Pray - praying is talking to God, it's spending time with your attention focused on Him.  I enjoy spending time with my children regardless of their level of development.  God is the same way.  Spend time praying as best you can.  Use formal prayers if you want or simply speak in conversation.  Don't forget to listen
  5. Journal - Our newly revised 4 Simple Steps to Better Scripture Meditations: Guide, Workbook, and Journal walks you through 4 easy steps that will help you go deeper in your prayer life.  It includes 31 days of workbook and journal pages too!
  6. Read other good books about how to pray better - Prayer PrimerDeep Conversion, Deep PrayerTime for GodThe Spiritual Life: A Comprehensive Guide to Catholics Seeking Salvation.
* Contains affiliate links.  No, that doesn't mean that the kids should leave the room.  Rather, it means that if you click on a link, and if you purchase something, I may get some financial remuneration for that click and buy.  All that means is that my kids will finally get to eat, just kidding but I may get something, just so you know...

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