*“People visit a wise woman complaining about the same problems over and over again. One day, she decided to tell them a joke and they all roared with laughter.
After a few minutes, she told them the same joke and only a few of them smiled.
Then she told the same joke for a third time, but no one laughed or smiled anymore.
The wise woman smiled and said: ‘You can’t laugh at the same joke over and over. So why are you always crying about the same problem?’”
Yikes, how’s that for confrontation?! Perhaps it hits a little too close to home for some of us (me included). Maybe you, like me, can imagine yourself in either the role of the crowd or the “wise woman.” Consider inserting “Principal”, “Teacher”, “Mom/Dad”, “Coach”, or “Counselor/Therapist” in place of “wise woman.”
Yes, there is value in cathartic venting and we shouldn’t discourage our students, kids, clients, coworkers, etc. from a good healthy vent. But there, rather quickly, comes a point where complaining becomes chronic and characteristic of a negative attitude, which saps energy from both the person grumbling as well as the person listening. The solution? Well at least part of the solution is modeling that which we wish to see in others. I cannot control others or prevent people from complaining. And confronting them sharply (as in the story here) may damage my connection with them, cause shame, or just not fit the role or personalities under consideration. But I can control myself and my own actions. Complaining is contagious. Fortunately, so are sharing words of affirmation and choosing to focus on positivity.
Until next time…Laugh a Lot, Love a Lot, and Have an Excellent Edventure!
*Story from “Top 100 Motivational Stories: The Best Inspirational Short Stories and Anecdotes of All Time”