Keep your woes to yourself

Here’s an interesting quote from William Walker Atkinson

“I tell the story of the two dogs. The one dog, dignified and self‑respecting, whom no boy ever thinks of bothering. The other dog, who expects to be kicked by every passing boy, and who draws himself up, and places his tail between his legs, and actually suggests the kick to the passing boy. Of course he gets kicked. It’s wrong for the boy to do it, I know, but the dog’s attitude is too much for the nature of the average boy. And “grown-ups” are built upon the same plan. These people who are going around in the mental attitude which invites unkind treatment, generally manage to find someone who will have his natural meanness drawn out to such a convenient lightning rod. And, in fact, such people often generate harsh feelings in persons who scarcely ever manifest them. Like attracts like in the world of thought, and one draws upon him the things he fears, in many cases.

But one of the most regretable things about this woe retailing woman, is the effect the habit has upon her own mind and character. When we understand how one is constantly building up character, adding a little every day, and that our thoughts of the day are the material which are going into our character structure, it will be seen that it is a matter of the greatest importance what kind of thoughts we think.

Thoughts are not wasted. They not only go out in all directions, influencing others — attracting persons and things to ourselves — but they have a creative effect upon our own mind and character. Thought along a certain line will develop certain brain cells to a great extent, and the cells manifesting the contrary line of thought are allowed to dwindle away and shrivel up. Now, when we have our minds fixed upon the thought that we are long-suffering mortals, and that everyone else is trying to do mean things to us; that we are not appreciated, and that those who should care most for us are only biding their time until they can hurt us; we are building up our minds along that line, and we find ourselves in the habit of looking for the worst in everybody, and we often manage to bring it to the surface, even if we have to dig hard for it.

Some of this class of people seem to take a particular delight in bringing upon their head the harsh words and “slights” of others. Now, I really mean this. I have seen people go around with that “I’m a worm of the dust, please tread on me” air, and the same expression as that in the eyes of the dog which expected to be kicked. And when somebody would be nagged into saying or doing something that they would not otherwise have thought of, the woe-seeker’s eyes would assume an expression of “I told you so,” and “It’s only poor me,” and “It’s all I can expect, everybody wishes to crush me,” and a few other assorted thoughts of that kind. And then she will go to her room and moan and weep, and dwell upon her miseries until they seem to be as large as a mountain.

And then the first chance she gets she will run around the corner to a friend, and will retail all the new stock of woes which she has accumulated, with fancy trimmings, you may feel sure, and the friend will try hard to avoid showing that she is bored at the tale she has so often heard, but will say nice little things, until the mourner is sure that the whole world sympathizes with her, and she feels a glow of righteous indignation, self-pity and martyrdom. Oh, the pity of it all! These people go through the world, making things harder for themselves, their friends, their relatives, and everyone else with whom they come in contact. They are constantly seeking to keep their stock fresh and attractive, and display more energy in their retailing than the average man or woman does in business.

Don’t retail your woes. Keep them to yourself, and they will die, but spread them, and they will grow like weeds. You are making things worse for yourself—are drawing things to you – and are spoiling your mind, disposition and character by this miserable business of retailing woes.”

This a very important point by Atkinson, which is all about not complaining, not “retail your woes” as it’s only going to attract more negativity to you.

It may seem obvious but I’m sure that you certainly have a few friends or acquaintances that are like that. The problem is if you are like that – even a little – without knowing. This is something to be fixed urgently.

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