Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Whatever you appreciate and give thanks for will increase in your life. Unknown

Is appreciation the antidote to complaining? If what we appreciate increases in our lives, what if what we complain about will also increase in our life, and the more we complain the more it increases? We can’t be grateful and complain at the same time. Yesterday the neighbor’s son had his dog on our lawn and he was acting as if he wanted her to go pee. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen this. My little dog was going crazy so I picked her up and walked outside, and said. “Please don’t have your dog pee on our lawn.” He said, “Okay.”

I didn’t consider my request for his dog to not pee on our lawn to be a complaint. I was asking for something instead of complaining about it. In my own mind, this is the answer to complaining. Often we see things and they are not right. What are we to do about them? We think the answer is to complain. How will anything become how we think it should be if we don’t complain? We think by complaining we will be the change we want to see in the world.

Somehow it doesn’t work that way. We don’t report suicides because the more attention we bring to them the more of them we seem to get. Mass killings might be the same thing and what if bad behavior of all forms is like this. What if seeing and hearing about someone else’s bad behavior gives us a license to act badly as well? In “The Tipping Point,” Malcolm Gladwell talks about the stickiness factor of things. If only good things had a stickiness factor our society would steadily get better. It seems we are moving in one direction or the other, notice how trash on the street accumulates but when we clean it up it takes quite a while before we see trash on the street again. By keeping our streets clean our neighborhoods are better, safer, and more pleasant places to live.

It seems to me the more people complain about people owning guns and threatening to have those guns taken away, the more people are buying guns and ammunition in case they can’t buy any in the future. We were doing that with toilet paper last year. We might not need toilet paper but if we saw it at the store we bought it in case we couldn’t get it when we needed it.

I am listening to Jordan B. Peterson’s book “Beyond Order.” I love his books. Other people (I think people who haven’t read his books) think he has negative messages. If you read or listen to his books they are not about recent problems in society. He has taken the long view going back to accumulated knowledge from lore, legend, myths, and religion.

Learn to appreciate the things you have before time forces you to appreciate the things you once had.  Unknown

He is talking to each one of us to make our lives better by our actions and our thoughts. He is not talking about how we can better society by pointing out all the unfairness in it. He acknowledges there is unfairness to be sure. We can make our corner better by our thoughts and actions and waiting for someone else to make things better for us never works.

One of the things he points out is when we think people are terrible we are also capable of being as terrible under the right, or wrong circumstances. We are not above the worst behavior. It is a sobering thought, but probably true. Perhaps this is what is meant by, “Judge not, lest yee be judged.” By judging others we might bring about circumstances where we have to prove we would not make the malevolent choice.

Living in peace and plenty we have few reasons to make bad choices. Most of us aren’t fighting over scraps. We have enough for ourselves and our families to live and take their place in the world. It is something to be very thankful for. Not everyone is so fortunate and situations can devolve. We are told if we are grateful for what we have we will always have enough.

Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some. Charles Dickens

Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for. Zig Ziglar

Appreciation is the highest form of prayer, for it acknowledges the presence of good wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts. Alan Cohen

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life

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