I think it’s natural for us to get negative when things aren’t going the way we want them to. It’s been ingrained in us since birth. When you’re hungry, you cry so your mother will come feed you. (Granted, that’s more communication than complaining, but they go together sometimes.) Later, as a toddler, if you didn’t get the toy or food you wanted, you threw a tantrum.
We all grow out of these fits as we get older, but does that natural reaction to life go away? Not easily. We just simply vent it in a different way than screaming at the top of our lungs. Well… most of us do. 😉
As I travel and interact with new people, it’s so interesting to see how everyone likes to complain. It’s almost as if that’s how we bond to other people while making idle chitchat. What is Facebook and Twitter if not an emotional dumping ground for others to see?
One example could be from when I was on my way to Florida last week. I had a layover in the Dallas airport. It was only supposed to be an hour and a half, but it turned out to be a lot longer. First, they kept changing the gate I was supposed to fly out of. If you’ve never been to the Dallas airport, it’s big; there’s a train to take you from A gate to B gate if that gives you any idea. So the other passengers and me were running from one end of the airport to the other, hoping we didn’t miss the flight. That concern was moot, however, because the flight was delayed. As I sat waiting with the other passengers, I learned many interesting details about their lives – all through their complaining about their day. One couple was trying to have a weekend getaway and wanted to get to Florida by the afternoon so they could get as much fun away from their kids as they could. (It was the first time in ten years that they left their kids, so they very much needed it!) But instead, they were waiting to get on my flight, which left much later in the night.
Another couple was trying to return home. They were older and traveled often as a pastime. It was the woman’s birthday that day and she didn’t relish spending it stuck at the airport.
Our flight was supposed to leave around 7 PM. Instead, we finally headed out after 11 PM. It was a long evening of waiting around and being shuffled onto a plane, only to learn that there was a malfunction and waiting even longer.
I’m not trying to tell this story to complain (which I know is what it sounds like, ironically). But I bring this up because it’s an experience I’m sure a lot of people can relate to. But my point is this: If it wasn’t for the delayed flight, I wouldn’t have had a chance to meet some wonderful people from all over the country. Was I happy to be stuck in Dallas for so long? No. But at least I enjoyed my time with people I would have normally never met. A few even took my business card so they could buy my book. Who would have thought that that situation would turn into a marketing opportunity.
And let’s not forget the wonderful convenience we have of traveling these days. We don’t have to make a car trip, or a trek on feet to go across the country. Instead, it takes less than a day. How amazing is that?
So the next time people at the fast-food restaurant are being slow with your food, try to think of things in a positive light instead of spend your evening complaining to people (or posting about it on Facebook). Perhaps someone didn’t show up for work and that particular restaurant is shorthanded. Or just be grateful that we have the convenience of others cooking delicious foods for us at a reasonable price.
Hopefully, the more you think this way, the happier and less stressed you’ll be in every day situations. 🙂