Monday, June 7, 2010
Complain Ye Not
Last night my husband said something to me in conversation that I have been thinking about since. He is such an easy-going and good-natured man that I could count on one hand the number of times he has said a less-than-positive word to me since we met seven years ago.
Basically what he said is this: because I am a person who notices the details and has high standards, when there is something that is not done well, that colours the enjoyment for me and then for him because I am unhappy.
It could be a terrible entree in a restaurant or offhand/unreasonable service in a store. But the example that started this brief discussion was mineral water and fruit. This weekend we stayed two nights in a suite (a suite! with a living room as well as a bedroom!) in a gorgeous hotel in our city.
They had a two-nights-for-the-price-of-one deal. Part of the package was ‘daily delivery of fruit and mineral water’. The first day when we arrived there was a dish with four pieces of fresh fruit and two bottles of mineral water on the coffee table. The next day passed with no such delivery.
When I mentioned it my darling husband offered to ring reception. No, they said, you don’t get fruit on the second day but we do bring up more water when we turn your bed down. ‘But it’s here in black and white that it’s a daily delivery’ I moaned to my husband when he got off the phone.
This was halfway through a hugely enjoyable (so much!) two night/three day stay at a five-star hotel where the furnishings are very French and ornate and the whole place is just gorgeous. For the sake of a few pieces of fruit and bottles of water (which was freely available in the club lounge which was also part of the package) I was making my husband unhappy because I wasn’t satisfied.
He said when I am unhappy about something, it makes him unhappy as all he wants in life is for me to be happy. I felt terrible but I am so glad he felt able to speak up about it. Sometimes it takes others to open your eyes and it was quite brave of him to do so.
I want for him to think of me as sweetness and light, as someone who is easy to live with, easy-going and forgiving to others. It is so clear now for me to see myself through his eyes, so this is an area I am going to work on. It’s easy to be self-focused and think how something is going to affect me (and speak of it accordingly). In fact, most of the time I just don't think about it and complaining words simply tumble from my mouth.
What I don’t think about is my sweet husband who really does worship the ground I walk on suffering as I complain (and others around me too – family and friends) about some perceived slight that others may not have even noticed. I already know that I am too sensitive and perhaps could learn to just go with the flow.
My thoughts are to now:
- Think before I speak – is it necessary and kind?
- Stop complaining – incessant daily moans are not good for serenity and happy relationships.
- Appreciate the good things and dial down the times when my high standards are not met. When I think someone else hasn’t reached my 'high standards', look at my own. No-one is perfect, least of all me.
- Remember that ‘high maintenance’ is not an attractive trait.
- Remember that complaining and whining is not chic.
My mum has always said 'if you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all'. It applies to a slightly different situation (speaking of others), but I'm going to use it for general everydayness as well.