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Gratitude vs. Complaining

By Dr. Margaret Paul
August 04, 2008

Who do you choose to be most of the time - someone who is grateful a lot or someone who complains a lot? Which one you choose determines how happy or unhappy you feel.

"All happy people are grateful. Ungrateful people cannot be happy. We tend to think that being unhappy leads people to complain, but it is truer to say that complaining leads to people becoming unhappy." - Dennis Prager

Take a moment to think about this statement. Have you ever known a happy person who wasn't grateful, or a grateful person who wasn't happy? Perhaps a way to look at this is that happiness is a result of gratitude. The wonderful thing about this is that, while we cannot always just choose to be happy, we can always choose to be grateful, which results in happiness.  So in a roundabout way, we are choosing happiness when we choose to be grateful.

There is always something to be grateful about.  You can be grateful that you are alive and have opportunities to learn and grow and share love. You can be grateful for the sun, the rain, the snow, the beauty of nature, the green of grass, the glory of trees, the color of flowers, the presence of animals, the food you eat. You can be grateful that you have a computer on which to read this article. If you have health, you can be grateful for that. If you have friends, you can be grateful for them. If you have a mate, children, a home, a car, a job, you can be grateful for them. You can choose to be grateful for all the big and little things in life, each and every moment. The more you choose to notice what is good and beautiful, the happier and more peaceful you will feel.

On the other hand, there are always things to complain about if that is your choice. Instead of noticing the beauty of the flowers, you can complain about having to water them. Instead of being grateful for the opportunity to be alive, you can complain about how hard it is. Instead of being grateful for the sun, the rain, or the snow, you can complain about how hot it is, how wet it is, how gloomy it is, or how cold it is.  Instead of being grateful for you food you eat, you can complain about how hard it is to cook it, or how expensive it is to buy it. Instead of being grateful for your health, you can complain about your weight. Instead of being grateful for your partner or your children, you can certainly find endless complains about them. The more you complain, the more unhappy you will feel. It is not the person or the situation or the event or the past or anything else that is causing your unhappiness - it is your choice to complain about it instead of discovering what is wonderful about it and being grateful for it.

At any given moment, we each get to choose which part of ourselves we want to express - our ego wounded self who lives in our mind, or true, essential Self who lives in our heart and soul. If you decide to trust your mind over your heart and soul, you will likely find yourself noticing what you don't like and complaining about it in order to attempt to control it. Complaining is a form of control and the mind believes that if you complain enough, you can have control over getting what you want.

Your true Self, the aspect of you that is connected with your higher Source of love and truth, lives in the present and feels grateful for the opportunity to express love and appreciation for all that is.

The really great thing is that, given that we are beings of free will, we get to choose to who we want to be, each and every moment!


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