This is a guest post courtesy of one of our Sseko Braves, Corrie Matchell. Corrie lives in Oklahoma City and is the Content and Communications Director of The Spero Project, a local nonprofit that works to mobilize local churches to engage with under-resourced populations in long-term, sustainable ways. Corrie and her Ssekos are currently trekking through Egypt!
We loved hearing about her experience giving up complaining as her Brave Step last month, and hope you enjoy as well!
My Sseko Step: Giving Up Complaining
By: Corrie Matchell
I have a tendency to be negative. I know this about myself. It’s been true for as long as I can remember. Crooked picture frames and doors left slightly ajar drive me crazy, and I am not the type of person apt to ignore spelling mistakes. Ever. Honestly, I just want the world to be perfect. And it’s not. It’s just not.
In May, I joined up with the Sseko Brave Collective and looked for a Brave Step I could take to make the world a better place. I thought hard about what I could do that wouldn’t cost any money and would be simple and achievable (I’m just being honest here). I finally decided to work on my bad habit of complaining. The negativity that is so present in my mind often manifests itself in the form of complaining, and I don’t like that about myself. So I decided to go one month without complaining.
My endeavor was actually quite successful. I didn’t complain once for the first week or two, and even after that my complaints were minor, at worst. The strange thing was that I wasn’t feeling any happier.
One morning I woke up in a seriously foul mood. You know those days when you just know that for no good reason you’re going to want to slap the first person who asks to borrow your stapler?… No?… I’m the only one, huh?… In a moment of desperation, I texted my boyfriend and asked him to play a game with me. We went through the day making a list of all the things that made us smile – the little blessings. At the end of the day we compared our lists and whoever had the most items on their list won.
An excerpt from my list looks like this…
- Sun up when I got done with yoga
- Actually got up to do yoga
- Working in a coffee shop where the baristas know my name and drink
They’re not phenomenal accomplishments, memorable events, or big deals. But, then again, neither were the things I wanted to complain about.
Halfway through the day, I realized that the key to making my world a better place – both for myself and for those around me – was to focus on the positive aspects in life, not the negative. When I was trying to avoid complaining, I was still thinking about complaining. “Don’t complain, don’t complain, don’t complain” was the mantra cycling through my head all day. There are two words in that sentence. Both are negative.
How will things ever get better if all we do is focus on the negative? In our lives and in our world, the key to improvement is to fix our eyes on the positive. However small it may be, it is the key to bettering our present and our future.
This is one reason why I love who Sseko is and what they stand for. They don’t get bogged down in the overwhelming ugliness in the world, the despair, and all that is to be done to give freedom, equality, and peace to women. They focus on the positive. Empowering women. Telling stories. Fostering hope. Dreaming big. Sseko knows what the rest of the world doesn’t seem to get quite yet: We can’t climb up if we’re always looking down.