Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Complaining Hurts?

Habitual Complaining
Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins

If I wake up with a back ache, obviously I get to "complain" to my doctor that I don't feel well so she can know how to treat me so I will feel better. If someone rear-ends me in traffic, I may not immediately listen to the better angels of my nature, but instead, I might get a little cranky for a minute or two. And if someone hurts my feelings, don't I get to tell them so (they may not have realized)? Isn't that just honest communication?
           Occasional observations or even periodic lapses into ego-centric self-pity are not life patterns. But constant complaining is a habit, and like most "bad" habits, gets in the way of successful outcomes.
            Those who always have something to complain about are never enjoyable to be around. We avoid them, or we automatically dismiss their complaints. Complaining is their modus operandi, so we tune them out. Then, when they really do need help or a listening ear, we don't notice that "this time," they aren't just performing their usual shtick.
           According to "A Complaint Free World" there are some real costs to constant complaining (focusing on the negative):
1. Complaining hurts relationships

2. Complaining hurts careers
3. Complaining damages physical health
4. Complaining damages emotional and mental health

The Apostle Paul wrote, "whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."
           Let's focus more on the good than on the negative, because we know that where attention goes, energy flows; what we think about habitually we manifest eventually.
           I mentioned in last week’s sermon that we can't be anxious, irritated, or miserable AND grateful at the same time. Someone gave me a rhyme after service to condense that sentiment. He said, "We can't be hateful and grateful at the same time."
           So, what are you grateful for today? For the good we've known, the good we expect, and even the good we just currently imagine might be possible...let's name it and be grateful for it. We can't be "grateful and hateful" at the same time. Let's, at least today, choose an attitude of gratitude.
           There are challenges we'll have to deal with along the way, but when we have hope, peace, and joy, then we can handle those challenges much more easily and much more effectively. 

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