Having the privilege to travel all over the world and seeing and being with people who are less fortunate than me, reminded me of important it is to be grateful. In fact, my thoughts returned again and again to just how fortunate I am in my everyday life. Sometimes, when I am at home I get lost in details and tribulations or daily life relationships and necessities. Regretfully, I sometimes forget to look at the big picture.
Having physical and mental distance from my daily routine brings it back though: I am an incredibly fortunate woman and I lead a blessed life. My thoughts naturally led me to wonder how I can bring this sense of peace and satisfaction home with me. The result is my belief that it’s critical in our daily lives to go from “kvetching” to “kvelling.” For those of you who don’t know, let me explain that both of these words are from the tremendously expressive Yiddish language, a combination of German and Hebrew that allowed early eastern European Jewish immigrants to communicate with one another though they came from different countries with different languages.
To go from kvetching to kvelling means to go from complaining and being frustrated to expanding and overflowing. Or, stated another way, find something positive in the midst of negativity and expand upon it. In short, “Count Your Blessings.”
The idea of finding something positive in your life in the midst of negativity requires a serious commitment to change direction. It requires discipline, intention and awareness. Suppose,
for example, that you are arguing with your significant other. The argument is getting heated, the animosity is growing, you are angry and starting to say and hear hurtful things. If you just take a quick moment to step back and breathe and establish how you want the rest of the conversation to proceed, you will be able to decide which path you want to pursue.
Ask yourself: “Do I want to create more frustration and negativity and upset or do I want to remember this is the person I love, the person with whom I share a home and a life, the person with whom I have children, the person I love to share with.” In that one moment, your being will soften. Instead of dwelling on the negative, remonstrative and hateful feelings, you will diffuse the situation and bring a sense of peace to you both. Later when both of you have calmed down, will be a much better time to work out differences.
This exercise applies equally well at work. It will certainly help you take things in stride and review your perspective. Suppose your business development efforts are not expanding as you had hoped. You could complain about social media, your competitors, business prospects who let you down, or myriad other things. Believe me, I know because I have been there. But, instead of being down and kvetching, give yourself a moment to thing about your successes. Ask you self “What is going well or what I am proud of?” Kvell with pride at the milestones you have reached and remember that nothing happens overnight. Take the time to pat yourself on the back for what you have accomplished.
Though she didn’t literally say “I am going from kvetching to kvelling” a coaching client recently did just that. Burdened with family obligations, she couldn’t help but complain and every little thing started to wear on her. She became exhausted and overwhelmed. Then, in talking to a few other friends about what they had to deal with in their lives, she opened her eyes to see how lucky she really is and how minor her complaints and difficulties when put into perspective. By comparing her situation she started counting her blessings and lost her undercurrent of anger and frustration, replacing it with satisfaction.
I love to travel. As I said, it gives me a chance to stand back and view my life with new perspective. I usually come back with more energy and a sense of pride in what I have accomplished. I intend to focus on the positives in my life and “count my blessings.”
There is an exercise I would like you to try: At least twice a week for five minutes, write down three to five things that make you happy and that enhance your life. Then, hold those thoughts in your head and heart for a few minutes. When adversity and frustration inevitably come your way, bring those special positive ideas to mind. Kvell on them.