Del Williams


Don't Retail Your Woes (Sh*t) by Wallace D. Wattles

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Don't retail your woes. Do you think that it does you any good to go around with a long face, telling your tale of woe to everyone whom you can induce to listen to you? Do you think that it does you any good? Do you think it helps you to overcome your troubles, or makes your burden any lighter? No, I don't believe that you think any such things. All your experience teaches you that people do not like to listen to long-drawn-out tales of your troubles—they have enough of their own. Even those who are always ready to lend a helping hand and to give what aid they can to one who needs it resent being made targets for a continuous fusillade of troubles, woes, griefs, etc. And you know very well that a constant repetition of your own woes will only make them seem greater and more real to you. And then the chronic retailer of woe grows to be like the journalist—develops a keen scent for matter to be dished out to others—she needs it in her business. When one gets into this habit of carrying about tales to her friends, she runs out of ready material, and eagerly looks around for more with which to supply the demand. She becomes quite an adept at discovering insults, sneers, double-meaning remarks, etc., on the part of her friends and relatives, where nothing of the kind was intended, and she rolls these things over and over in her mind like sweet morsels before she serves them up with appropriate trimmings, to her listeners. You will notice that I say "her," in speaking of the victim of this demoralizing habit, and some of my readers of that sex will undoubtedly take me to task for blaming it on the woman instead of the man. Well, you all know my ideas about the equality of the sexes—about their being different, but one being as good as the other, with the odds a little in favor of the woman. But I feel justified in saying that this habit is one that seems to have a special liking for women, and it generally picks out a woman for its victim in preference to a man. When a man acquires this habit, he becomes such a nuisance to his friends and associates that sooner or later he will notice that they avoid him, and the chances are that some blunt fellow will tell him that he has no time for listening to tales of this kind, and that if he, the complainer, would display the same energy in attending to his business that he does to peddling around tales about how badly he has been used, he would not need any sympathy. But woman, God bless her, does not like to hurt the feelings of others in this way—she suffers the infliction in silence, and then tells her friends how she has been bored. She will listen to her woe-retailing friend, and seem to sympathize with her, and say, "Oh, isn't it dreadful;" "how could she speak so harshly of you;" "you poor dear, how you must have suffered;" "how could he have treated you so unjustly," and other things of that kind. But when the visitor goes, she yawns and says, "Dear me, if Mrs. Groan would only try to say something more cheerful; she gives me the horrors with her tales about her husband, her relatives, her friends, and everybody else." But Mrs. Groan never seems to see the point, and she adds to her list of people who have "put upon her," as she goes along, her tired-out friends being added to the number, as their patience wears out. And then the effect upon the woman herself. You know the effect of holding certain lines of thoughts; of auto-suggestion; of the attractive power of thought, and you can readily see how this woman makes things worse for herself all the time. She goes around with her mind fixed upon the idea that everybody's hand is against her, and she carries about with her an aura that attracts to her all the unpleasant things in the neighborhood. She goes around looking for trouble, and, of course, she gets it. Did you ever notice a man or a woman looking for trouble, and how soon they found it? The man looking for fight is generally accommodated. The woman looking for "slights" always gets them, whether the giver intends them or not. This sort of mental attitude fairly draws out the worst in those with whom we come in contact. And the predominant thought draws to itself all the corresponding thought within its radius. One who dwells upon the fancied fact that everybody is going around trying to injure him, treat him unkindly, sneer at him, "slight" him, and generally use him up, is pretty sure to find that he has attracted to him enough people who will humor his fancy, and give him what he expects. In "Thought Force" you will remember, 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 regrettable 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. This thing of looking for trouble is a very unfortunate thing in families. As a rule, I think that woman gets the worst of it in family troubles. The economic position places her at a disadvantage, and she often suffers all sorts of horrible things, rather than have her troubles made public. But I must say that some women bring upon themselves all that they get. I have known them to get in a frame of mind in which they could see nothing but unkindness, where the utmost kindness was meant. Man is not an angel—far from it—but the attitude of some women is enough to bring out all the qualities other than angelic. They assume that they are "put upon" and live up to that idea. Every word that the man says is twisted and distorted into something entirely different from what he intended. The mental attitude produces moral astigmatism, and things are seen at the wrong angle. All the little things that happen are promptly retailed to some mischief-making neighbor, who is in the game for the excitement it affords her, and who laughs at the wife behind her back, and talks about her in turn to some third person. And the wife fairly draws upon herself all sort of things that never would have happened otherwise. She knows that her neighbor is waiting for to-day's budget of news, and she, almost unconsciously, shapes things so that the facts justifying the news are forthcoming. Did you ever notice that woman who keeps her troubles to herself does not have nearly as much bickering and strife in her household as the one who has acquired the retailing habit? 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.
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