Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Please Pass the Whine

Everyone has a vice. Some people smoke, others overeat, gossip, or bite their nails. Imperfection is part of being human and I accept this. What I do not accept is giving in to our vices. Shouldn't we try to change those things that are less than desirable about ourselves?

I have been struggling with one of my major vices this summer. It isn't that I am giving into it more. Really, I am just more annoyed at myself when this issue comes up. So what is my major vice? Whining and complaining. Whining is a truly awful behavior. Whining makes those around you have to share in your discontent. Also, I think whining demonstrates a lack of gratitude.

I am not sure where my habit of whining and complaining started. There is bound to be some root to this annoying behavior but for the life of me I cannot find the source. All I know is that I am all grown up now and it is time to stop it for goodness sake.

This year has been a tough one but because it has been challenging it has also created in me a greater sense of humbleness and gratitude. Life is hard sometimes. What this year has made me see is that when my life was virtually problem free I still always found something to complain about. It makes me embarrassed to look back at that and it makes me sad that it took my sweet child having a health issue to reflect on my poor behavior.

A bit about gratitude. I don't talk about this to make anyone (my parents) feel bad. However, I do come from humble beginnings. Money was always an issue and life was rife with challenges. I always believed that my hard work and determination lead me to an adulthood that was advantaged. Now I believe something different. I do think hard work and determination were part of it but I also see that I had many positive doors open that lead me down a path that resulted in a beautiful life. One of those major doors was my truly beautiful husband. He has taught me so much and provided an amazing life that I could not even have dreamed of as a child. He has forgiven my faults and loved me in spite of self-defeating tendencies. I have a safe home, everything I need and most of what I want. My life is so sweet.

My big lesson this summer is that whining in the face of such a blessed life is disrespectful. It is disrespectful to my husband, it is disrespectful to others who don't have so many blessing, but mostly it is disrespectful to myself. It gets in the way of living a life full of joy. It is disrespectful to me because my life could easily have turned out so much worse. I am grateful and I want my words and actions to reflect that. I want my mothering to reflect that. I want to raise grateful children.

Now for the hard part. Habits are hard to break! Awareness is the first step but changing behavior is a challenge. So here is my plan. Every time I whine or complain I am going to keep a tab (a distinguishing mark on my calendar). At the end of the week I am going to count up the marks and do something for penitence. My idea is that I will in some way give to someone in need. For example, send a note to lift someone's spirits, make a donation, give to charity, or volunteer. Maybe I will leave a sweet note for Christian or take coffee to one of my tired mommy friends. I will try and be creative but the hope is that this will bring awareness to the amount of complaining I do and help to stop it. Hopefully the good deeds will continue even if the behavior stops. Wish me luck!

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