Gratitude, An Antidote to Complaining - A Personal Story

November 1, 2017

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What’s going on with you?  You are glowing girl!”

“What are you using on your skin? It’s glowing! You are radiating! What’s your secret?"

“There’s something different about you. You look free kinda…"


These were some of the words spoken to me at different times while I walked the hallways at work or in an elevator after my transformation of gratitude lifting me from a dark, depressing, dismal, dreary, and dejected space. However, it wasn't always this way. Let me take you back.
 

THE LONELY DARK PLACE

 

I was going on my 2nd year in a lonely, dark place without any doors or even shutters that could let some light in or windows to let some air in.  How did I get in here? Who put me there? Why couldn’t I just simply get out? I’ll attempt to answer all of those questions.
 

I suppose I walked right in there by myself, of my own volition. Of course, if I knew that’s what it looked like in there, I wouldn’t have gone in.  Then again, if I hadn’t gone in, then I wouldn’t be telling you all this now, see how it all comes together.
 

"I was going on my 2nd year in this lonely, dark place without any doors or even shutters that could let some light in"
 

Anyways, I had taken a compelling, exciting, promising work assignment overseas – the mission was a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 5 years.  At best I figured, I’d go for 3 years.  After all, I am a star or high performance employee – not sure what you call “them.” And quite frankly, no one was really lining up to go to this country anyways.
 

Leaving everything I knew behind, the work I knew in and out, the comfort of my location, my family, my friends, my new husband (and I mean new, less than 6 months), I packed up and left for this assignment.  
 

Resources – technical, financial or human was a big ordeal and hindering.  Learning a new culture, the way of business, understanding the consumers in this nation, and building a brand new business that would fit all of these pieces and still align to the “organization’s” norms and guidelines was a tall order.  And we knew it.  We communicated it at every level we could and at each time we had the opportunity.  I gave it my all or what seemed so at the time and as many of you know the corporate world can be full of b…....let’s just say politics and lots of red tape.
 

THE SHOCKER

 

20 months into the mission, after countless, sleepless nights of wearing multiple hats that I did not sign up for; away from my family and friends – The team was visited by the heads of the corporate office from Paris to have individual conversations with each of us that had come in as expatriates on this mission.
 

“You came to us from a high position and the US raves about you, but we just don’t see it here.”  I was numb.
 

It felt as though someone had yanked my heart out of its cavity and stuck a pencil in it. I watched her lips move but couldn’t hear anything else and then I came back…. “so you will be going back to your home country in 3 months.”  I was devastated in the moment, and yes I stood up for myself which I’m still proud of today and spoke my truth and continued on working, prepping and packing to go back home.
 

"I wrapped up in bubble wrap a sense of failure, shame, and multiple vases of complaining."
 

Well, as I packed over the course of the months, not only did I pack up my physical belongings; I wrapped up in bubble wrap a sense of failure, shame, and multiple vases of complaining.
 

THE NEW NORM OF COMPLAINING

 

There were many of those vases that I gave or exchanged them with my co-worker who was in the same boat.  We connected, wined, and dined over mounds of complaints. How this was unfair, management did not heed to us despite our multiple memos to them; requests for resources.  
 

I don’t know about you; when I complain, sure there is a supposed connection happening with my partner yet I get super exhausted afterwards.  And during, I am constantly stewing – it’s like wanting a cup of hot apple cider but the cup won’t stop boiling. How do you even hold that to your tongue?  And this is how I got stuck in the dark room after stepping in.   
 

Needless to say, I arrived back in my home country office and unpacked everything I brought with me. For months, I walked the hallways with my head hung low in shame, feeling like a failure and of course since I still had more vases of complaining, I found people that wanted to exchange vases - which is sadly not hard to find at all – and we continued the complaining party.  The walls of the room thickened, got darker -  I was bitter, angry, felt betrayed, entitled, and wronged. …my apple cider was still boiling. 

 

SETTING MY INTENTIONS TO BE GRATEFUL INSTEAD

 

After many months of this, I was suffocating.  I had to get out. How? How do I get out?  I set an intention to practice seeing this organization from a lens of gratitude every day.  I wrote that intention out every morning when I got up and I carried that notebook with me where I also wrote down 5 gratitudes each day about this organization, a powerful tool I had learned from Rhonda Britten, Fearless Living Institute while I trained to be a Life Coach.


Of course it was hard and I did it anyway.  When a thought brewed up about complaining about my ‘unfair’ experience – I countered it with a gratitude and here are a couple of my entries:
 

“I am grateful that I had the opportunity to work Internationally, now I have this on my resume.”

 

“I am grateful to have met and connected with my co-worker who is now like a sister to me.”

 

“I am grateful I was chosen, which means I am valued in the organization”
 

And with each gratitude, a shutter was created, a window was fabricated, a door was erected, and eventually the walls came down.  I was free, I was light, I was and am grateful. And what I now know for sure is that the antidote to complaining is truly gratitude.

 

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