“What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain.”
― Maya Angelou,
“I can’t believe he…” I switched the band to my other arm. Twenty minutes later, in frustration, I began to share my important observation of the situation, “Good grief, can’t they…” I caught myself and moved the band back to my other wrist. I’ve never really been a complainer, but apparently, I had more to say about the things wrong in the world than I had thought. The wristband was moved back and forth often the first week I had it, and no one was more surprised than I that I easily fell into complaining, but by the second week, I learned to hear the words in my head before letting them escape my mouth. The idea was that every time a person wearing the purple wristband complained, they would move it to the other wrist in an effort to bring a little more positivity to life. Maya Angelou probably didn’t know about the purple wristbands when she penned her words, but her advice is noted — change what you don’t like, and when you can’t, change the way you think about things you don’t like instead of complaining.
Some people seem to enjoy complaining, but research shows that it’s not as much fun or as good for us as we might think. How often do we say, “I’m just venting,” and launch into a lengthy rant? While I think venting is not all bad, the science says true complaining is a different story, and it seems that you and I need to take notice. There is a really long explanation about the fact that our brain develops connections based on our thoughts, and the more often we have complaining type thoughts, the more we will develop somewhat permanent complaining thoughts. But the short of it is this: the more we complain, the more we’ll complain, and people don’t especially enjoy being around complainers.
What better time than now, as we head into spring, to make a plan to change your thinking and your speech, to complain less and enjoy more. Ready?
You don’t have to have a wristband to remind you to not complain and criticize, although it makes for a tangible reminder as you go through the step of moving it from one wrist to the other. Today is your new beginning! As you and I pay attention to what we are thinking, we’ll be paying attention to the words we are speaking. Pretty soon, we just might discover that we are more pleasant to be around, and that can be life-changing.