February 15, 2008

The Opposite of Complaining Is Love

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“Life’s greatest happiness is to be convinced that we are loved.” Victor Hugo.

Is it any surprise that many are going to hate their Valentine’s Day weekend? Single people will struggle with feelings of loneliness upon not receiving any Valentines. Others may be disappointed by what their significant others do—or don’t do—for them. Both groups may feel as if no one truly knows them or cares enough about them to put time, energy and thought into making them feel wonderful.

When things go sour, the easiest and most natural response is to complain—to ramble, rant and rave incessantly until the bitterness is fully expressed. I would suggest that complaining is an exercise in futility. The nagging feelings of abandonment and of being unloved will still exist, and they may come back stronger in the future.

So what’s the alternative?

The Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It stems from an important observation: We often make the same mistakes we complain about in other people.

So a few questions: What did you do for the people you care for this Valentine’s Day weekend?

If you are single, did you do anything special for your other single friends? Did you do the kinds of things you wished others had done for you? Did you make them feel special?

If you have a significant other, did you do something special for them? Was it as intelligent and significant to them as you wish they had done for you?

I urge you, my friends: Please don’t complain about what your own Valentine’s Day, since you have no control over the actions of others. Instead, take control of your own actions—do something thoughtful and meaningful for the people you love.