Do you ever think about what comes out of your mouth and the impact it may have – primarily on yourself ? I guess I did not when I was in one of my negative phases. I was with a friend on a short ski trip to Montana. On our drive back to Canada, we stopped in Coeur d’Alene. My friend’s demeanor changed quite a bit and I couldn’t figure out what was going on with him but after the stop at Coeur d’Alene, he got pretty nasty and made some comment about me complaining.
Thinking I was the life and soul of life’s party, I said, “Oh … am I complaining a lot ?” He just looked at me and said “You think ?” very sarcastically. On reflection, I realized that I had just been complaining that the CD player wasn’t working properly. I kept cursing it with every CD and there were other things I had expressed dissatisfaction over. Hmmm, I thought, better watch myself.
We did not talk all the way back to Calgary. I dropped him off at home and we did not talk again for a year or two!! However, when he told me that I was complaining too much, he also said that he was telling me for my own good. I respected this man’s forthright words and it took me a while to figure out what he was talking about. For a while after our return, I started to pay attention to the words that came out of my mouth. Pretty soon I was able to stop the useless negative words before they were fully out and before long I stopped them coming out of my mouth altogether. I had been wasting time and energy complaining, when I could have channeled that energy into something positive. The next steps entailed stopping the negative thoughts before they reached their passage to my mouth and, before long, I was able to stop them before they stole too much of my energy. I replaced these negative thoughts with thoughts that led to something productive or beneficial and my life changed forever. I had fallen into the dangerous habit of complaining. Changing that habit was really quite easy and of enormous benefit to me and to those around me.