Growing also means improving, right? Unless you can grow by staying your good old self, which I rather doubt. I personally try to often reflect on my own behavior and habits.
One of the things I noticed is that I’m often ranting. Part of it is I believe, deeply cultural. I’m French and French people like to complain about anything and everything really. It can vary from unleashing a few “i’m so tired” every single morning to a ranting level that could easily lead to another French revolution. I too, like to complain about things on a daily basis. Small things, bigger things.
Complaining is human, we all do it. But complaining is deeply negative, especially if you do it a lot. For sure there are some aspects you can feel unhappy about, and you are allowed to express your feeling of discontentment. Some days are harder than others, life is a mix of ups and downs. The trick is not to fall into a perpetual circle of discontentment. Negativity brings negativity.
As I became more and more aware of my tendency to complain a lot, I really tried to make a change. One thing I’m trying to set as a routine, is to practice being grateful instead.
It seems to be rather an easy thing to do right? In practice it’s not that easy. In our lives we tend to focus harder on the negative things, than on the positive ones. As an example, when someone asks us how our day is going, we tend to highlight negative events first.
“My colleague annoyed me”, “my boss sent me extra work”, “I’ve missed my train and had to wait 30 minutes at the station” are common answers. How many of us would answer “I’ve helped the neighbor take the trash down and it made her happy”, “my lunch was extra delicious today”, “I’ve met an old friend and it was nice catching up on things”. Ranting is easy, it comes naturally.
To help practicing daily gratitude I chose to include this routine in my daily yoga one. I decided to choose to select and reflect on one daily thing I am grateful for doing Shavasana (yoga asana, usually closing the practice). It does not have to be something huge, it can be about anything. Usually I don’t”t even have to think about it, there is one thing naturally popping up in my head. For example, some days I’m grateful for my dog not being sick, for a phone call I had with my mom who lives far away or for a great time with friends. It helps me acknowledge the small, beautiful, ordinary daily things.
It’s quite easy to find and point out the things that aren’t so great, it’s harder to acknowledge the things that are. Some things are taken for granted: our health, well-being, the health of our loved ones. We take such things for granted until they go wrong. Everyday, I’m trying to be grateful for the things I do have, instead of whining about the things I can’t change. There will always be things to rant about, there will be unfortunate events, missed trains, failed interviews, heartbreaks. It’s part of life. If everything was beautiful and easy, in the end we would complain about it as well.
You can choose your own way to practice gratitude: have a personal diary, make it a daily or a weekly routine, do it through random acts of kindness… whatever works better for you. Hopefully it will help you keep things in perspective and be more positive.
If you already do practice gratitude, I would be interested to know more about it. Leave me a comment to let me know what your daily routine is and how beneficial it is for you.