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Happiness has nothing to prove

If you refuse to complain, there’s a decent chance that people who do complain will see your happiness as the by-product of you having an easy life. They might even say things like “Gee, I wish I had YOUR life”, as if to imply that the exercise of discipline and maturity play a minimal role in your successful efforts to be a positive person. In other words, they choose to characterize you as a person with no problems or challenges.

When you run across such people, you may feel tempted to present them with a list of all the things you COULD complain about, but simply CHOOSE NOT TO complain about. If you ever feel the need to do this, know that it’s perfectly normal. You only wish to defend yourself, gain their respect, and get the credit you deserve for all the times you worked really hard to demonstrate emotional competence and self-control in the face of adversity.

I suggest, however, that you consider the cost. While defending yourself as someone who has just as many problems as the next guy can feel good, it also forces you to put your attention on the very things that lower your energy and bring you down. Proving yourself to complainers by listing all of the complaint-worthy elements in your own life, will result in you trading in your positive state just to impress someone who probably doesn’t have the current ability to be impressed by your goodness anyway.

My father grew up in the South. His family was far from being wealthy. When he moved to Chicago, he worked an average paying job in retail. He had a dream, however, to be successful in real estate. Being a believer in the power of faith, My dad chose to speak abundantly even when his circumstances did not agree with his words. Although he had little, he gave liberally of what he had. Did his peers, at the time, respect him as a man of great vision and sacrifice? Not exactly. They listened to his words and observed his giving practices and they said “Wow, he’s rich. Look at how much he gives. He has lots of money.”

Can you imagine what it must be like to struggle financially and have someone who makes more than you complain about money problems? Can you imagine what it’s like to have that same person tell you that it’s easy for you to be relaxed because you have it easy?

There were many days when my father felt tempted to defend himself and tell people how hard his financial life was. But doing so would have required him to give up his confession of abundance in exchange for a confession of lack. My dad chose to stick with his confession of abundance and that’s what he eventually manifested.

Don’t get caught up with proving yourself to others. This isn’t a contest to see who has it more difficult. If you have someone in your life who thinks their life is so challenging, then let them have it. Let them win. Don’t try to keep up with people like that. Let them keep on thinking you have it easy. Let them keep on saying how great your life is. Agreeing with their positive statements about your life will take you a lot further than matching the negative statements they make about their own life.

That’s my two cents.

T.K. Coleman

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