In my continued quest for inner peace, I’ve been reading many articles about happiness. I’ve never really thought of myself as much of a complainer – it’s a word with negative connotations and I’m an expert in painting a picture of myself as an all round entertainer, not the sort to drag you down to the seabed with an anchor made of misery. (Seafaring metaphors come so easily to me. I like boats.)
But of course I complain. If I stop and think about all the things I complain about, which I have done for the sake of this feature, I realise that I’m a right Moaning Minnie (when I’m not being Paranoid Paula.) I even complain about people who complain a lot, which is a bit awks, because I now realise I am one of them.
According to an article I read online, complaining ‘lowers your vibration.’ I hate that sentence, I’m going to start by complaining about that. Lowers your vibration. It’s words like these that make hippies look like pretentious halfwits, even if there is some sense to the fundamental message they are trying to convey. It’s the sort of thing Gwyneth Paltrow would spout before steaming her vagina. If they could choose a less ridiculous way of describing the calm mindfulness that accompanies a less negative frame of mind, then I might actually climb aboard some of their suggestions.
Continuously complaining obstructs our ability to be happy and productive. If we’re complaining, it’s because we’re spending time thinking about things we don’t want, instead of thinking about and therefore talking about, good, happy, positive things. The article goes on to suggest that complaining brings more things to complain about, because complaints take an already low ‘vibration’ (Seething. Literally going to punch my computer) and pushes it even lower. So you complain about a thing, then you negatively affect your vibration (just elbow-dropped the screen) and you plunge yourself into a never-ending cycle of unhappiness: you complain, so the universe gives you more to complain about. Apparently if we stop complaining, the cycle is broken and the universe sees to it that you win the lottery and have sex with Ryan Gosling.
I know plenty of ‘fun sponges’ – people who never say anything delightful. I am definitely not that bad. But to give up complaining entirely? What the hell would I talk about when all my dramaz go down?
There are 20 common complaints in today’s society. I’m going to list the nine best ones below. It’s essential to our vibrations (can’t they just say ‘happiness’? Why make the concept wear a 1990’s era ying-yang around its throat?) that we do not complain about these things. I am the marker by which I shall judge whether complaining is good, bad or ugly, so if you complain about more things on this list than I do, then sort yourself out love. If you complain about fewer things on this list than I do, then well bloody done, you’re a radiant old bean.
Have a headache and not tell my husband, the minute he walks in the room? Are you kidding? It’s news! Of course I tell him.
Due to my predilection for portions fit for a man twice my size, I ALWAYS have stomach ache. I only have to look at food and I am writhing around in agony. I don’t complain to many people about this because I’m embarrassed, but you can bet your bottom dollar that the minute the dinner party is over and the bedroom door is shut, my husband is privy to me banging on about my self-induced greedy guzzler’s gut ache. If only I’d known that the universe would take my malaise away if only I’d shut the hell up about it. (Or maybe just eat less.)
I have an actual medical condition called ‘I’m going to kill a baby if I don’t eat soon’ – also known as low blood sugar levels. When I get hungry, I also get dangerously short tempered. Edgy. Panicky. I do not keep this complaint neatly packaged in a polite box in my head and it’s usually feeding this complaint that leads me to complain about my stomach hurting. Oh cruel irony!
Course it does. If I’m out in it, getting soaked or muddy or cold, what am I supposed to do, appreciate how lucky I am? Don’t make me laugh, universe.
In my humble experience, chivalry ain’t dead. My husband doesn’t just open the door for me. He makes a trumpet sound and then says ‘Doo doo doo doo doo…. Ladies and gentlemen… It’s Kim Willis’ whenever I enter a room. Do they really say chivalry is dead? They should hang out with him.
I know, sorry, I took one.
I am my boss. I’m not a jerk! I let myself take as much time off as I want!
This one gets me every time. I keep meaning to not complain to my husband about the shape of my body. It’s not exactly sexy is it, going on about your muffin top. But then the fatty thought pops into my head and no sooner is it in my head than it’s out my mouth and I’ve gone and complained to him. Men want secure, sexy women who don’t think their bums look big. The reality is often far more tiresome for the poor sod having to say ‘you don’t look fat’ ten times a day. I really did wish my mouth would just shut up on this one.
I am never too hot. But too cold, freezing – yes. These are not temperatures I can resist complaining about.
I haven’t been bored in years. I can remember complaining about boredom as a young teenager. My mother told me only boring people got bored and suggested I drank all her gin. I did. I haven’t been bored since.
My dearest chum and I write to each other every Friday. It’s a thing we do. I recommend it – otherwise months go by and you haven’t checked in with your long lost friends. When we first started writing to each other every Friday we named the emails Fat Files and we spent the entire email telling each other how much we hated our fat selves and complaining about the things we’d eaten and the pounds we hadn’t lost.
We loved emailing each other, but we realised this was a very pessimistic and unhealthy way to communicate. So we made a pact: no more complaining about the things we hated about our bodies. We were not allowed to talk about the diets, the scales, the insecurities. Instead, we renamed the emails Fun Fridays and we only wrote about the happy and good that had happened that week, the things we were celebrating and grateful for.
Now, I’m not signing up to any crock about vibrations, but damn it, I know we both felt more radiant for focusing on the good.
So for my next challenge, I suppose I’d better stop bending my husband’s ear about the humdrum of daily life. Look out, universe, you better get some good fortune ready for me, I’m about to stop complaining. And look out, husband, we better start watching the news because we’re going to need some new conversational fodder. Goodbye headaches, hunger and crap fat chat.