So often when we think about the phrase “if you can’t say anything nice don’t day anything at all” we apply it only to people. But why leave out the sister nouns: places and things? Sure, leaving them out leaves us more room to complain about lukewarm burgers and messy bathrooms and cloudy skies, but why waste time on those things?
I volunteered at the American Girl Fashion show to help the Junior League raise funds for closing the achievement gap. The cause is reason enough to help, but I was also excited to chat about the American Girl books while helping models (girls 4-8) pick out their favorite Felicity or Samantha dress for the runway.
Instead, I was asked to volunteer at the concession stand, “Could you make the coffee and serve the hot dogs?” Ah! Gotta help where needed, right? I wouldn’t get to see the show or meet the girls or chat about the books, but so it goes. I put on my apron and headed to the kitchen and told myself to be excited about it.
Time whirled by as I learned how to make cappuccinos and lattes and mochas and cheese bourekas. Gaining skills, right? The best part, however, was that the other two girls in the kitchen were absolutely sweet and funny and intelligent – their company made the morning better than anything I could have planned. We all three exchanged numbers before we left, and we have plans to hang out this weekend.I went home grateful that I suppressed my urge to complain, and it got me thinking about how lodging complaints (to the people around, above, or beside us) never really does any good.
When we decide to accept our circumstances (whatever they may be), we open ourselves up to new experiences (cappuccinos and friends, in my case), lift others up (instead of chatting about missing the show, we joked about opening a food truck) and remember to be grateful for the good things all around (in the scheme of things, any complaint I make is going to be pretty petty, right?)
I will not complain this week. Bring on icy-rain and long waits and traffic jams, and I’ll use that inconvenience to practice acceptance.