Thursday, December 13, 2012

Too Much Air-time

It's important to get stuff off your chest. Bottling things up doesn't help and if anything it will only compound an issue until it ends up blowing up into something much bigger - that old 'Mountains out of Molehills' adage.

But letting off steam is different from constant complaining. Letting off steam is releasing something and then letting it go. A kettle doesn't suck the steam back in when it's done boiling.

Constant complaining involves revisiting the same thing repeatedly. For example, if you find the behaviour of someone you know particularly irksome so you repeatedly air your frustrations with them to anyone who will listen.

They certainly may be doing different things that you find annoying, frustrating and bothersome, but your general complaining is bound to be the same old thing regardless of their behaviour.

Sometimes I can let it go really easily. I am able to reflect on the behaviour of others and I know that I can't change them, I can only change myself.

That might mean letting go of a friend or no longer following someone on Facebook. It might mean learning to just shrug something off because really, it's probably no big deal.

But occasionally I come across someone who really gets under my skin. I find them so frustrating that I'm baffled and I find myself repeating my frustration to anyone who will listen.

Fortunately, I am surrounded by some very wonderful friends and family who are really good at pointing this out to me. Mostly it involves a lot of eye rolling and looking bored because, even if it's a new 'shocking' thing the person has done to annoy me, I'm still being annoyed - again.

I think learning how to be responsible for our own moods regardless of the behaviour or actions of others is probably one of the most difficult lessons in life. It's not easy to accept and remember that we are each responsible for ourselves and how we feel, think and act is entirely our choice.

A lot of it involves changing the way I think about something. I don't like the idea that someone I don't really like or respect is getting so much of my time and energy. When I catch myself mid-whine I pause and just think, "You are giving them way too much air-time."

1 comment:

  1. I was thinking along these lines quite recently when I listened to a friend complain about his work...again. I'm becoming reluctant to engage in conversations with him because they always shift back to the problems he has with his job (workload, hours, colleagues). Yet when I ask if there's anything he can proactively do to change the situation and tackle the problems he says No.
    My philosophy is that if something is giving you grief - try to change it. If you really *can't* change it - I think you should cut down on the amount of mouthing off you do about it to others.


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