Create Don't Hate
We have a saying in our house that you've probably heard before. "You get what you get and you don't pitch a fit." It's a fun little rhyming reminder to the kids when they complain about all the things.
For example: I give them two cookies, they complain that they didn't get three. We take them somewhere special and they complain that we didn't go out to eat, too. As parents that can be super frustrating. You're doing your best, trying to make them happy and they aren't content with anything. It's not their fault, though. We all start out kind of selfish. That's why we have to teach them to be gracious and thankful, right? Right.
But lately I've been noticing that as we get older we start to forget that lesson, too.
Take a scroll through your Facebook feed and what do you see? Adults acting like children. Complaining about the President. Complaining about their job. Complaining about their amazing tiny computer/phone in their pocket that has one little bug. Complaining about their favorite TV show or movie. Complaining about their husband or wife. Complaining about Facebook, even. I know you've seen it.
Part of me wants to go shake them, "You get what you get and you don't pitch a fit!" - I mean seriously. We're not kids anymore. Why do we spend all our time complaining?
Overabundance of all the things
Here's part of my theory: we live at a point in history where we can literally watch/read/listen to anything we want anywhere we want anytime we want. We can inhale and numb our minds without any effort. There are endless games on our phones that are programmed to be addictive and time consuming. Social networks like Facebook and Pinterest figured out that when they implemented "endless scrolling" we just didn't stop scrolling. We spent more and more time because all we had to do to get more information was move our thumb.
Let's not confine this to digital, though. Walk through your local grocery store and take a minute to look at just how many kinds of cereal you have to choose from. Or how many different crackers there are. And don't even get me started on the shampoo. I want to curse at every barely different version of Head & Shoulders lined up and indistinguishable from one another. Grrrrrr.
If you want to take it to another level go into a Walmart and walk up and down the aisles without any intentions of buying. I am constantly amazed by all the crap on those shelves. Empty, frivolous, useless junk that does nothing but satisfy our consumer need to buy something new. Rows upon rows and millions upon millions of dollars worth of nothing. And that's just one store in one city in one state in one country.
We've become so accustomed to getting all the things all of the time that when something goes haywire we freak out.
Entitlement and criticism are like a drug
From here we quickly move from being frustrated when the consumer machine fails us to outrage that it broke in the first place. It's like some switch gets flipped and we're 5 again, right?
"Oh my gosh, I can't believe I have to work at this stupid job all day long. Aarrhghghg!!!"
"The new 80's cartoon movie looks so stupid. CGI sucks. Why can't they just get it right?! My childhood is ruined."
"Ugh, I'm so frustrated with my husband! He won't take me shopping at the outlet mall!!"
When all we do is consume what is laid out before us, we have a tendency to become complaining, critical children. Did we pour our blood, sweat and tears into that movie, TV show or song? What about that smartphone in our pocket? Did we take a huge risk and run for public office? Did we take a risk and do anything remotely interesting at all today? Probably not.
And yet somehow we feel that we deserve to have everything handed to us on a silver platter. We feel that we can use our words to cut down, ridicule and minimize the accomplishments of others just because we don't like it.
Even worse, this behavior becomes really addictive. The more we do it, the more we like tearing others down. It feels good. Then we start to surround ourselves with complainers. And then it feeds into that nasty entitlement and away we go. It's a hard train to get off.
It's time to stop whining and grow up
Guys and girls, we need to get off the whiney train. It won't be easy, but we need to - for our friends, for our family and for ourselves. So how do we do it?
I think the quickest way to hack the "pitch a fit" behavior is to make. Make what? Doesn't matter. Write a song, draw a picture, knit a scarf, built a table, program an application, invent a recipe, film a video, make a craft, write a story. Use your brain to give life to something new, to create and give instead of taking all the time.
When we spend our time consuming and waiting to be entertained it causes us to become cynical, critical and whiney. Making things is the perfect foil to change those habits because it reminds us how hard it is to create something. We start to rely less on others for our happiness as our mind becomes consumed by our art.
Even better, you'll become more interested in what you can do for others than what things like TV shows, discount sales or political parties can do for you. Giving is way better than getting. And creating is always better than hating.
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