Sunday, 27 November 2011

Colourful Language

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Despite the fact that this is a massive generalisation, I'm confident that anyone who has spent any time working in pretty much any role anywhere in the UK will have come across the Great British tendency to complain. 

It seems to be a quintessential feature of working life - a sort of bonding exercise that can encapsulate any subject matter, with favourite topics often including workload, the weather and (in some circles) other colleagues.

Although I freely admit to playing my part in this social phenomenon, I've recently had a rethink and am beginning to see if I can introduce a slightly different tone to my conversations. The catalyst for change is 100% selfish: my participation in the status quo just doesn't make me feel good. 

With the number of unemployed 16-24 year olds reaching record levels in the last week, being in any sort of work at all is something to be grateful for. Dwelling on the seemingly negative is also out of step with the biblical principles I profess to be committed to; the scriptural mandate is to think about whatever is true, noble and lovely and do everything without complaining.

Talking through genuine issues with the aim of achieving some sort of constructive resolution is healthy. There's also relief in 'just getting it off the chest' and being listened too - having your problems, emotions and point of view validated by someone else. 

But often when I join in the chorus, the things I'm complaining about (workload, the weather, it not being the weekend) aren't problems - it's just my choice of perspective that paints them in that light. In those circumstances, I'm trying to introduce a reality check: a dash of confidence instead of complacency and pessimism, a sprinkle of gratitude and, if in doubt, a touch of silence. After all, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." 

It might make me a little quieter from now on, and perhaps a bit of a social pariah but I think giving myself the chance to be more appreciative will make me happier, and a better person to be around in the long run.

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