I ate too much.
My ankle hurts.
This deployment is so long.
I asked for Nestle cookies, not homemade cookies.
You guys, I kid you not, that last complaint came out of my mouth last night. I was writing my blog post for the day (very late in the day) and randomly said to my husband that I could go for warm chocolate chip cookies. He offered to go to the store to pick some up. I requested a roll of Nestle chocolate chip cookie dough, apples, and toilet paper. The grocery store is across the street, so all he had to do was walk two blocks. Usually, a trip like that would take 5-10 minutes. He was gone for 20, and that’s when I knew something was awry.
I really knew something was awry when he’d been in the kitchen for 40 minutes, but I didn’t smell the faintest waft of cookies in the oven. What. Is. Taking. So. Long. This cookie monster wants her cookies RIGHTMEOW!
Turns out, my wonderful, thoughtful, over-achieving husband decided to make me cookies from scratch. Any normal wife would swoon. Not this girl. Instead, I had the audacity to complain that I wish he’d just gotten the ones I asked for so that I wouldn’t have to wait an hour for them to be ready.
I’m the actual worst. I hate myself sometimes, deservedly so.
I caught myself being a brat– thank God– and immediately retracted my complaint and apologized for being a spoiled fatty. My husband just laughed and proceeded to make 4 dozen cookies. FOUR DOZEN. I can’t. Like, what, are we providing desert for a small army? But whatever, it was really sweet. Quite literally.
I’m telling you this story because I’m really working on lowering my complain-worthy threshold. Here I was, being pampered by an amazing man who not only made me cookies, but had given me a foot massage two nights prior, presented me with the most gorgeous flowers after my show, and makes me laugh more than anyone I’ve ever met…and my instinctual reaction was to complain that he was putting too much time and effort (mostly time) into making chocolate chip cookies. Ugh, I’m gross.
Sometimes I think random complaints are a way in which I can relate to other people. When others mention an uncomfortable condition– be it the weather, food, relationship woes, etc.– it gives me an opportunity to commiserate. Thus, I’ll occasionally throw out a complaint simply as a conversation starter. Or even as a comedic opportunity, like explaining how I can’t stand up straight because I ate too much at lunch.
Of course I don’t think to myself, “What can I complain about right now in order to bring together the room?”, but much of what we say and do have these sorts of subconscious intentions. The problem, though, is that using complaints as a strategy for popular consensus is a sure way to produce a habit that extends far beyond social adeptness.
The more you complain, the more you begin seeing your minor troubles as worthy of attention. Realistically, everybody faces inconveniences and struggles on a daily basis. What is the point of saying yours aloud? Sure, they can unify a group on certain occasions, but mostly, complaints elicit annoyance in listeners and narcissism in the complainer. Other people don’t care all that much, and the person at hand cares too much. Thus, complaints benefit no one. They fall on deaf ears and/or perpetuate Center-of-the-Universe Syndrome.
Not to mention, the more negativity you orate into the world, the more you’ll feel in your heart.
Though I hate to admit it, I find myself complaining far more often than I should. It’s something I’ve chosen to become actively aware of in my behavior over the last few weeks, but I felt extra challenged to improve this afternoon when my husband blew his nose in our storage unit. He’s been working hard doing all these special things for me– like baking cookies from scratch– on top of taking care of practical responsibilities like cleaning out the storage unit, but never once mentioned that he wasn’t feeling well. I assumed his sneezing was just his allergies flaring up, but in the storage unit, he finally mumbled something about how he was under the weather. WAIT WHAT.
When I’m under the weather, he knows. Everyone knows. It’s basically national news. My husband, however, never ever complains. Even when something is worthy of complaint, be it for his health or sanity. Despite the fact that I almost want him to complain more so that I can do a better job taking care of him, I’ve also found him to be a phenomenal example of yet another area of my life that needs work. I married way up, you guys. No joke.
I don’t think that being a complainer means you’re a bad person. If that’s the case, I’m in big trouble. The whole thing is similar to not being hospitable or taking selfies— it’s not that you’re a bad person, it’s just an area of life that may need some improvement. Us humans easily fall into negative, egotistical, or selfish behaviors if we aren’t deliberate about self-improvement and recalibration. Hopefully, not complaining (and other good characteristics) will become habitual over time, but it never hurts to step back and see if you’ve gotten a little off track. I know I have. The good news is that it’s never impossible to get back on the tracks as long as you’re willing to step back and evaluate where you are in relation to them.
Also, can someone please buy me this shirt? Thanksloveyou.