Day One: I notice the complaints in my email. Just certain ways of saying things. A little zinger here, a criticism there. The good news is that it’s in writing, so I see it before I say it, and so I just back space, back space, back space. In actual speech no such luxury.
Day Two: In the morning I run into a close friend and she asks me what’s happening in my day and without thinking out comes total crankiness about some work stuff. Just 1, 2, 3…. And then I think, “Oh, that was a complaint!” And it was the combination of complaint/gossip. Yuck. They do ride together.
Day Three: At work I’m more aware of my goal. (I have Post-it reminders in my planner and on my keyboard…) But I have to work hard to say what I need to say about work stuff—to say what is not good or what is difficult without complaining. I am becoming aware that there is a difference and there is a line, and I can feel when I cross it.
Day Four: The feelings arrive. There is a kind of loneliness—a hollowness in not complaining. Is complaining a way to connect? Is it a defense against the feeling of not connecting? Huh. Can I connect without complaints? Are my complaints defensive? Of course they are. Can I feel the loneliness and not complain to push away the feelings?