Complain Joyously? Is that even possible? I actually did a double-take when I wrote down the title of this reflection, and then I asked myself if I lost my mind.
I probably did.
Mostly because I’m not entirely sure why I chose that subject. It just came to me when I sat down, and maybe it has something to do with the fact that my recent explorations into my human foibles and shortcomings has been one of the most joyous experiences I’ve had in a while.
The thing is, as I was remembering the challenges that led to some comforting insights, I was also having a good laugh at my own expense. Every time I look at how incredibly human I can be, I’m reminded that this exactly what I signed up for when I decided to take this adventure.
I didn’t sign up to be perfect. Oh, no. I signed up to be as imperfect as possible.
If there’s one thing I’m really good at, it’s being imperfect. And if I were to be perfectly honest with myself, I have to admit that from my point of view, perfect is boring.
Now, I’m not going to say that I enjoy every imperfect moment. Quite the contrary. I hate ‘em. They suck. Big time. And while I go through my imperfect moments, I complain. A lot.
Okay, granted, I rarely complain out loud, but if you were to get inside my head, you’d see a maelstrom of complaints swirling around in there.
Not to mention the fact that there’s a subtle art to complaining out loud. I’m not sure if I’m proud of this fact, but the subtle art of complaining out loud is something I’ve mastered – to the point that when I get on that train there ain’t no one who can stop it.
Except me. When I can’t stand to hear myself whining anymore.
When I get sick of my own whining, I switch my focus from feeling bad to feeling better… because frankly, feeling bad makes me feel worse. The irony is that when I’m caught in that cycle of feeling bad and then worse, epiphanies start to light up like a row of LED lights. And when the epiphanies start coming, I laugh at myself… and I when I start laughing at myself, I see more clearly.
Eventually, the joyous cycle is complete and I’m ready for another round.
I’m reminded of an important lesson, one inspired by the saying, “This too shall pass” (to which my reply is, “TRUTH”). The lesson is this: Unless we do something to hold our emotions hostage, their natural tendency is to always flow.
I know the imperfect moments that trigger my complaints will pass, just as I know that the joyous feelings of this moment will also pass. There are few guarantees in life, but one of them is that nothing is permanent. If there’s one thing I can always count on, it’s that every day I’ll probably find something to complain about, laugh about, and then feel joyous about – provided I remember that this too, shall pass.
The experience of joy isn’t constant, but it can be consistent. By allowing our emotions to always flow, and by allowing ourselves to go through the complete cycle of complaining, laughing at ourselves, and then feeling joyous, we create consistency. And when there’s consistency, there’s inner peace.
I guess joyous complaining really isn’t an oxymoron after all. It’s just another part of our human adventure… and that’s something I can joyously live with.
About the Author
Appio Hunter is an author, speaker, spiritual guide, and self-described champion for living joyously. He facilitates conversations with groups and individuals about how they can be authentic and experience community, connection, and alignment every day. Appio is also co-host of the Real Men Feel Show along with his good friend Andy Grant.