29 Apr

Life is not perfect. Sometimes things go well, other times not so much. We have good days, and we have bad days, and sometimes we have boring, unremarkable days. But there are times when we have great days, and when they come everything seems terrific! Perception plays a role in our days, just like it does in everything else we do. What seems to be an unremarkable day to us, might be perfect for someone else. And the same is true about those around us. Our perceptions color what we think of them, how we feel about them, and what we say about them. It’s said that perception is reality, and that’s true. We base our realities on what we perceive them to be. We all have differing perceptions, even in the same situation. It’s how we’re made, but there is a trap we can fall into that can influence our perceptions negatively. That’s when we fall into the trap of complaining and criticizing.

Everybody knows a complainer. We all know someone that criticizes everything, and complains continually. It doesn’t matter what we’re doing, who we’re with, or how things are going, they will find something about which to complain. I know an older woman who has adopted this pattern, and frankly I think she’s about perfected it. It doesn’t matter what others do for her or where they take her, there is always, without exception, something for her to complain about. If she goes out for lunch, the salad is too big. If she goes shopping, there are too many things to choose from. If she sits out on the patio, the wind chimes are too loud, or the breeze is too cold, the sun is too hot, or the chair is too hard. When dealing with her, patience helps, but after a time it’s just exhausting to hear all the complaints.

There is always another way to see things. Our lives are not all bad all the time. The same is true with finding fault and criticizing others. None of us is perfect. We all have our idiosyncrasies and foibles. But there are some who feel it is their responsibility to point those inadequacies out to whoever might be listening, and make detrimental comments about those around them such as, “Look at those shoes she’s wearing, can you believe it? Who does he think he is acting like that? She’s always sucking up to the boss. He is so into himself he can’t see anyone else!” Tons of comments like these are a continual litany for those who need to criticize. It’s hard to be around people like this. They bring everyone down. They make those around them uncomfortable with the continual criticisms, and it’s hard to have fun when they go on and on. Plus, we know the minute we are out of earshot, the comments will probably be about us!

Complaining and criticizing are things we all do. Sometimes we are annoyed or unhappy, and this gives us a way to vent. But when they become continual traits that we engage in constantly, it becomes a problem. Today when things go wrong or someone annoys you, try to remember that they are only human, and like you, they are not perfect. Try to see the other side of the situation. Try to find something positive. Remember, you can only see what they show you – there is a lot more to every story. If you give others the benefit of the doubt, you’ll feel better in the long run. After all, it’s generally nicer in the sun than it is in the clouds. Say something nice when you feel like complaining. Say something positive when you feel like criticizing. You will lift those around you with your example, and you’ll be lifted too!

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