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What's the Point in Complaining?

Everything that we do in life takes time. Everything that we do takes energy. Everything we choose to focus on keeps our focus away from something else. We have decisions to make all of the time about how to spend our time and our energy. We can choose to focus on the things that make us happy, the things that make us sad, the things that make us frustrated and angry, or the things that inspire and motivate us to keep moving forward.

It truly is up to you how you spend your time, to what you devote your energy, to whom you share your life, and to what you decide to think about as you go about your day. In most things and in most people if we search for it we can find something good and something not so good. But it's up to us to decide which to focus on.

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Picture of an in bloom purple rose and several thorns
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If you have a child who frequently acts up in public, it can be frustrating and embarrassing. But there are likely times when you see nothing but a loving, sweet, and innocent little boy or girl. When that child isn't around... which personality comes to mind? If you have a boss that is normally very demanding when it comes to deadlines, but is also very understanding when it comes to family emergencies, which do you think about after work?

By actively choosing to spend more time focusing on the positives: the  good in people and the enjoyable aspects of your day, you can make a  real impact on how you feel. You can improve your mood and outlook, which in turn can rub off on others.

If something happens that makes you feel let down, if someone you care about hurts you, or if something bad or disappointing happens in your life, it's okay to feel hurt. The point here is not to deny your feelings, but rather to spend more time overall over the course of your day focusing on the good and less on the bad.

Instead of complaining over and over that a situation hasn't changed, remind yourself of how far you've already come. Remind yourself of your previous accomplishment. Instead of complaining that your college professor is boring, consider how fortunate you are to be in school. When your car starts making noises it shouldn't, remind yourself of all the days it wasn't making those noises. When a medical test comes back with news that you need surgery, be thankful that the doctors caught it when they did and can still do something about it. When someone breaks up with you, don't forget about all of the good times you shared together.

It's easy to focus on what's wrong in our lives, but sometimes it takes a little more conscious effort to remind ourselves to focus on what's going well. Don't take those things for granted. Instead take time to appreciate them. Take time to appreciate the days when your not sick, the days when your spouse does something unexpected and romantic, and the times when you didn't get a speeding ticket, when you didn't get into an accident, when you didn't have to stay late at work.

This small change of focus which will require some effort at first, but will become more natural over time, can make a big impact on your life. You'll spend less time feeling angry, frustrated, annoyed, depressed,  and disappointed, and more time feeling appreciative, happy, joyful, content, and at peace.

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