I like to complain at home over trivia things. What do you suggest as far as being more joyful for lent and less a whiner? What things should I do in lent to make me more joyful? What things should I not do? Does seeking to be more joyful dishonor lent? Above all, what is the best way to stop/minimize my complaints?
Try seeing the blessings in your life and not dwelling on the things that are less than what you would want them to be.
Concentrate on the Crucifix and pray about what Christ was willing to do for us and our imperfections.
**Literally bite your tongue. I speak from experience:o And if that doesn’t work, apologize after each complaint to whoever was present and ask their forgiveness…harder to do than it sounds.
And no, I don’t think trying to be more joyful in the sense you are talking about is wrong during Lent.
Get one of those wide rubber bands or those rubber bracelets. Put it on your wrist. Every time you complain about something, put the bracelet on the other wrist. As you become concious of how many times a day you complain, then, set goals of going an hour without complaining - and work up from there
Turn the complaint into a joy, too. For example–let’s say you complain about your job. Instead, thank God for your job. If you complain about one of your kids leaving a toy out in the yard–instead, thank God for the joys of children. If you complain about an aching back–instead thank God that you’re able to get out of bed. I have used this myself…and my complaining has really dwindled. Hope that works, and helps. One can be joyful in the midst of suffering–so it does not dishonor Lent. If anything, it might dishonor Lent if we don’t nip a complaining spirit in the bud during that time. Lent is a time of renewal–so this might be something you have longed to rid yourself of, and this time might offer you that oppty!
I’m working in Johnette Benkovic’s women of grace bible study. She recommends that whatever your vice, embrace the opposing virtue. So if you were struggling with pride, you would try to embrace humility.
What a great undertaking for lent! I’ll pray for your success!
Complaining is a habit. We all have habits and some are good and some are bad. They are learned responses. It is like driving your car a certain route every day. When you come to a stop light and turn left on the way to work it is automatic. You are not thinking about where you are going and just go left automatically. But if you are not going to work and head out to go to a restaurant that is a right turn on that corner you automatically turn left. So whenever we are in situations we rect by habit without thinking.
The way to break the habit of complaining is to change the way we perceive our daily circumstances. It is a conscious effort and really very simple. Count your blessings and give thanks to God for them. Look for them. You are missing them. There are thousands of things to thank God for. You can do it all day long. After not too long this will become a habit. The first thing to do when you wake up in the morning is thank God for life, for His blessings during the night, for a friend who got a job, for family. Go make a cup of tea or coffee and sit down and thank God for a moment of peace to sip a comforting drink. Take a shower and thank God for hot water and any water. Thank him for your comfortable bed and a roof and warmth. Thank him for a job, anything and everything. You will start doing it all day long and then when you get back into bed thank Him again for your bed and the day you had full of blessings. It is almost impossible to break one habit without replacing it with something else. A grateful heart will take away all the kvetching. Also it would not hurt to confess being ungrateful.
As the Poster Above says. It’s a concentrated effort, but apart from that, it’s very simple. Just have to do it. If it isn’t worth complaining, don’t complain. If you have a way of solving a problem you see - solve it, don’t complain. If it won’t go easily, perhaps think of a long-term strategy. Complaining is a circle. Once you start, you won’t stop finding reasons to complain further and the more you complain, the worse you will feel, which will make you want to complain more. It will probably make you see things in a worse light, too, giving you even more reasons to complain. Also, complaining is a waste of energy that could be spent on solving the problem or finding yourself something to do which will make you feel better. Perhaps try to be lighter on people and yourself. If you realise they aren’t personally attacking you by falling short of your standards or that they don’t mean any evil if they actually offend you by accident, and if you realise you don’t have to hold yourself personally responsible for everything that happens around you, then it should be easier. And don’t fall in the complaining role. You don’t have to complain.
Now good luck letting go a bit.
Umm… Try playing chess? It’s good for relaxing and letting go of combative thoughts. It’s also quite immersing and distancing from the outside world.
Please offer me advice for lent. Look at Matt.23:23-28. I fast every lent, quite extensively. Yet I feel I’m neglecting the weightier things of the law: (mercy & fidelity). I feel that if I continue my normal route during lent and not work at being more joyful (=less melancholy), more thankful (=less complaining) - I’ll be straining the gnat and swallowing the camel. I have a tendency to put most of my strength in the sacrifice of food. I’m afraid to not sacrifice food because I know I’m good at it, despite the discomfort it causes. I long to be more merciful and loving. Yet, I know I’m more apt to fall more often if I sacrifice complaining and a “too serious” or melancholy attitude. The gnat is easy for me. Have I been blind all this time and been indulging on the camel?
Maybe volunteer at a homeless shelter, or hospital in the children’s wing…as this might help you to focus your energy on other’s issues, instead of on your own. That is something you could do for Lent? Complaining is really nothing more than changing our focus from positive to negative…just have to change your focus. I know, I make it sound easy–truth is I’m a recovering complainer, and I have volunteered helping others who were ill, etc…and it helped me to refocus my energy onto others. Sometimes, we have to do something to help us focus on being more positive. Actually, the Bible speaks about fasting, and how we should ‘wash our faces and not appear like we are fasting.’ (in other words–we need to be joyful, and not appear melancholy) I think I know what you mean though…Lent is a somber time,but we can still have inner peace and joy–even in our fasting…even in our sacrifice. Jesus didn’t clutch the cross with misgivings…He clutched it with joy (despite the suffering He was withstanding)–knowing this was what God had called Him to do. So–like Him, we should embrace our crosses, embrace this season–not feel that it’s a time to appear downtrodden. When I watch the Passion of the Christ–I cry my eyes out, but all the while feel uplifted that this is what our faith is about–being resiliant and positive thinking in a time of great suffering. “I make all things new,” Christ tells us.
I wish you a very blessed Lent season, Lou.
I wouldn’t slip it on the other wrist—I’d snap it against my wrist every time I complained…this way it would be like my mother used to say–"Stop complaining or I’ll give you something to complain ABOUT!"
Seriously, though, there is nothing that helps correct an opportunity more than recognizing it as it happens and then taking action (prayer?) to try and avoid making the same mistake. It will take time (perhaps even the whole Lenten Season) and effort, but by Easter Sunday you will be a better person, full of joy instead of complaints.
LOL–My husband tells our kids that!! (stop your complaining…or I’ll give you something to complain about haha!)
You can not force yourself to be joyful. Joy is a gift of the Holy Spirit. It comes when it comes. God pushes our joy button. We don’t! We can give thanks. Everything we have is from God. When we count our blessings anything we give to God including our very lives, has been given to us. So that is ok we can give back. That is how the Trinity works. God gives God to God. Love, loves, love. There is one thing we can give God that He has not given us. It is our thanks. That comes from us.
The three theological virtues, faith, hope and love are gifts that are given to us directly by God. He infuses them into our souls and they spiritually change us. They come to us in that order. We receive the gift of faith and then that leads to hope and that leads to charity. Although these are gifts and we can not do anything to obtain them on our own efforts, we can ask God for them. On my knees I beg God for charity. Help me to love Lord. This is not something we do once. It is a daily supplication. Charity is something you can not even know what it is or means until you get it. It transforms you and you become an overflowing spring, loving everyone, praying for everyone, unable to despise anyone no matter how evil they are. It is God’s own love in you and you love people as He does.
Charity is the crowning virtue. The mother of all virtue is humility. Pride is the first sin and no virtue is possible without humiility. So I beg God for humility. God take away my pride. This is a daily battle.
If you have the fasting figured out keep at it. The other two penetential practices are prayer and almsgiving.
One thing we have a tendency to do is be too ambitious. God is probably not going to make you a saint in forty days, but the idea is to gain a little sanctity. Sanctity generally comes in steps, little by little. We do not generally light up like exploding fireworks. It is more like God turning up the power slowing on a dimmer switch.
The one thing that always works is time in front of the Blessed Sacrament. If you can make a daily stop that would be a big help.
This actually works. It’s a conditioning technique I’ve heard on tapes about overcoming impure thoughts. Wear a rubberband around your wrist, and every time you have an impure thought - or in this case, make a complaint (or even think about complaining) - snap the rubberband against your wrist. It won’t take long before you’ll avoid complaining in order to avoid the pain.
Perhaps try it this Lent, along with some other of the things people have been offering. See how it works for you.
Perhaps you could try to thank the Lord every time you start to complain. For instance, if the water takes a long time to heat up when you run it, thank God for the fact that you have hot running water, instead of complaining that it takes a long time to get hot. If you have 7 loads of laundry to do, thank God that you have a washing machine to do it in rather than complain about how much there is to do.
Even if you can’t think of something to thank Him about, offer all the little incidents that annoy you to the Lord, ask Him to cover them in His Precious Blood and thank Him for giving you these opportunities to suffer with Him, even if they are only little.
Get into the habit of thanking and praising, instead of complaining. Start the day with a prayer asking the Lord’s help.
“Lord, I know that I’m all frazzled today, and all these little things really annoy me. Please, help me to deal with everyone I meet today with love and forbearance. Help me to let go of the irritation that prevents me from being joyful and let me be a true witness to your love.” or words to that effect.
incorporate deliberate prayers of thanksgiving for those very things that are causing your complaints
your kids have messed up the house, again, after you just cleaned
thank God for the children, the roof over your heads, and all the stuff they are throwing around
a driver cuts you off in traffic
thank God no one had an accident or got hurt, that you have transportation available, and a quick prayer for that driver, that whatever problem was distracting him is resolved
you don’t like the food
thank God for the food, and eat it anyway
and so on.
the Rule of St. Benedict is as harsh on grumbling and complaining as it is on any other offense, and names it as one of the biggest barriers to sanctity, humility and spiritual progress.
a complaint is basically a claim to entitlement:
this is my house, I will run it my way
this road belongs to me, get out of my way
I have a right to good food, prepared my way, served in my time
once we accept that we are entitled to nothing, all is gift, thanksgiving becomes easier.
Lou, pray for the Holy Spirit to convert your heart.
And, seriously, when you find yourself whining, just stop and say to the person, “Sorry, I’m just whining again”
Lou, you need help with this. Try getting some help. Like this:
Equip everyone in the house with a code word. The word can be anything you choose and the sillier the better. Each time you start to complain, the nearest person says the code word. (You see why silly is a good idea?)
You’ll find yourself saying the word to yourself after a couple of days, and your complaining will drop drastically.
I thought more about this. Maybe this might help.
We are creatures of habit. We already covered that. It is not that we complain habitually that is the problem. There is a chain reaction. We complain and that creates a sour attitudle. The sour attitude steals our joy and makes us melancholy. The sadness spreads to those around us and effects relationships.
It is a chicken egg thing. One leads to the next, or feeds on the other and we go in the same circles again and again. So where do you break the chain. It is easy to stop complaining. Instead deliberately create the habit of giving thanks. Once you stop complaining the melancholy that is fed by the complaining will go away.
Do you remember the simple prayers Catholics were taught, the act of faith, the act of hope, the act of charity, the act of contrition? If we say them habitually, all the time they take root in us as your complaining has taken root. They make us more hoepeful, increase our faith and love and dispose us to contrition.
It really is not difficult to incorporate these into your routine, especially replacing complaining with gratitude. Once the dark chain is broken with God’s help you will be free and disposed to light.
God bless you. Mary help of Christians, pray for us.
If you’re acknowledging the fact that you complain too much, you’ve already won half the battle!