Friday, August 10, 2012

At the Complaint Counter


I understand that an Athens hotel posted a sign that read: “Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. daily.” So, visitors are actually expected to complain?

Of course, complaints in themselves are not bad things. I realize that something has to be addressed before it can be fixed, and I believe that there are times when dissatisfaction should be expressed. What’s more, I realize that we all have different temperaments. Some people naturally see the glass half full, some see it half empty and some just see that they will probably end up washing it. Some people are naturally more accepting while others complain quickly.

But a tendency to constantly look at what is wrong can become a habit. And habits can take over. I just don’t want to become a person who spends a lot of time “standing at the complaint counter.”

Like the woman who frequented a small antique shop. She complained constantly about the prices, the quality and even the location.

The shop owners took it in stride, but one day, while ranting about selection, she blasted the clerk with: “Why is it I never manage to get what I ask for in your shop?”

The clerk smiled and replied, “Possibly because we’re too polite.”

I find that if I fill my mind with the little irritants of life, I have no room, or energy, left for anything that nurtures and feeds my spirit. No room for genuine appreciation. No room for understanding. No room for enjoyment. No room for fond memories. No room for storing a list of things that bring pleasure.

I actually believe there is much to feel good about. Humorist Bob Orben rightly said, “The next time you feel like complaining, remember that your garbage disposal probably eats better than thirty percent of the people in this world.” I want to leave room in my mind for a long gratitude list that I can readily recall when I need a boost. I want to notice what’s good and right about the world. And I want to fill my heart and head with that which brings some joy so that I may go to bed each evening contented.

Attitudes are habits. Like television producer Barbara Gordon says, “While others may argue about whether the world ends with a bang or a whimper, I just want to make sure mine doesn’t end with a whine.” I can’t put it any better than that.

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