Don’t Be a “Grouch”!


There are people in our lives that appear to go out of their way to conversationally invalidate everything we say. When we discuss how to solve a complex problem with them, they will state the obstacle to every possible solution. When you remark on a sunny day, they will inform you of the harmful effects of UV radiation. When you remark on how the cloudy day is a perfect day to work outside without getting too hot, they will complain about the “gray gloom”. When you start to talk about a major problem in your life, instead of validating how you feel or see if there is anything to do to help you, this person will pat you on the back and tell you it will all be OK. When conversing with a constant contrarian, you will likely leave the interaction frustrated and depleted.

I have to acknowledge that I have my own inner “grouch”. This is the voice inside my head that can derail forward progress. My internal contrarian gives me a reason to stay in bed when I plan to wake up early and exercise. This subconscious naysayer provides me with ample reasons to downplay the compliments of others. It takes vigilance to keep this voice in check. I am glad that I have practiced the habit of reviewing my thoughts before they are spoken. Some times this inner curmudgeon presents its’ input during ordinary conversation. For example, a friend of mine informed me of the fun he had discovering an outstanding Mexican marketplace where you could find excellent traditional Mexican food at great prices. My inner killjoy wanted to inform him of the fact that my does not eat a lot Mexican food and that this place, that gave him a sense of satisfaction and pride, just wouldn’t work for me. Luckily my pre-frontal cortex kicked in and allowed me to evaluate my response. What value would I be adding to the conversation by dismissing the value of this new Market? My friend wanted to be validated for his excitement. He did not want to speak with a proverbial “wet blanket”.

One of the benefits of meditation or quiet reflection is that we can evaluate our inner dialogue in a detached manner. We can observe our thought patterns and notice the general feeling of our thoughts. When we realize that our thoughts are just a part of our identity and do not compromise the totality of our identity, we understand that we can control what we think and what we say. We know from experience that is annoying to speak with a constant contrarian. There is no benefit from being a contrarian ourselves.


9 Comments to “Don’t Be a “Grouch”!”

  1. Ah. You sure know how to turn a phrase. I like “killjoy.” Those saboteurs sure like to have parties in our head, don’t they. I love how you write.


    Sue Bock

    • Thank you very much Sue. A thesaurus is a great tool! By the way, I apologize for not playing the game of question tag. I have been doing more home maintenance tasks and I have not spent as much time tending to the blogosphere. The answer to your question “what keeps me positive”, is that I make a conscious effort to be positive or react positively. In terms for blogging inspiration, I feel that life offers many daily examples of how we can choose to respond to things.

  2. Great post, Andrew! I had a inner battle with my inner grouch today. Oh boy did she find excuses for not keeping up with her commitments…. sheesh. Anyway, I appreciate this post because it reminds me that sometimes we all have to deal with our inner contrarian and tomorrow is a new day where I can start anew.

    Have a great night,

    • Thanks Curie! You are right about starting anew. All it takes is that little moment of reflecting on what is going on inside one’s own head and realize “these thoughts just are not working for me right now”.

  3. Good one!! Food for thought isn’t it that we can sometimes be our own worst contrarion?! 😀 Thank you Andrew! Sharon

    • Thanks Sharon. I feel that when we see other people engaging in “annoying” behavior, it is important to remember that we all have the same potential to perform the same actions. It is valuable to reflect on what we can control (our thoughts, feelings, habits, beliefs and most of our emotions) instead of casting aspersions on the “other”. I am always appreciative of your comments.

  4. Excellent !
    Thank you for for the personal examples of self sabatoge and needless negativity. Well said !

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