“Attitude of Gratitude” seems to be a popular catchphrase lately. It truly is a powerful way to shift your mindset. My latest adventure with improving my mindset started with a Bible study I was attending. We were all given bracelets that said “Gripes be gone” and were challenged to wear it for 3 weeks. We were told to switch the bracelet from one wrist to another each time we complained. The whole point was to make us aware of not only how much we complain, but also to be aware of the things we complain about. We were also to start a gratitude journal to help us change our thinking from a negative, griping thought life to one of thankfulness.
Week one really had me thinking. The complaining rolled off my tongue naturally. As the basket of bracelets were still being passed around I felt the need to comment that purple was not my color. We were told to place the bracelet on our right wrists and I stated quietly that I wanted it on my left wrist. I was off to a great start! Over the next couple of days I found myself justifying my complaints. “I was just stating a fact!” There’s a fine line between stating facts and complaining and it was interesting to hear myself teeter on that line. I also learned how many times I had conversations with others where I “just needed to vent.” What a great way to disguise a whine-fest! I also found that I complain most at my kids’ sporting events. I fussed about things that were unfair to my child, or how other kids played, or how the umpires were calling the game. Because of the bracelet I caught myself most of the time. I worked on rephrasing what I wanted to say. Instead of saying that it was unfair that my son was sitting on the bench for more innings than other kids, I reflected on the positive life lessons we could teach him through this.
In weeks two and three I got better at rephrasing things and finding things to be grateful for. I started my prayer time with gratitude and verbalized gratitude more often throughout the days. Towards the very end of the challenge I was so used to how the bracelet felt on my wrist that I kind of forgot about it. The gratitude habit stayed but I’d like to find ways to catch myself complaining and re-frame it more often.
I’d love to hear about ways that you work on being more thankful and complaining less.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.