“You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses.” —Tom Wilson
First of all, life is not perfect – it never will be and it never has been. To realize this as “Mrs. Complaining-all-the-time” is pretty awesome indeed. To understand this fact we can actually welcome a great number of possibilities. We know it deep down to be true that life is not perfect! So the question here is, if I know this to be a fact, why do I still complain all the time about its imperfections?
I am not alone here. We all do complain about the traffic, waiting for something, on something, the weather (too hot- too cold), too much weight, about tight clothing lateness and the prices of everything. The list is just endless: complaints about crying babies, spouses who are doing something we do not like, neighbors. Have we become a society of complainers? Well, and if we do complain, do we get a positive reaction? Any circumstances we complain about really? Almost never.
Our natural response is most of the time to express feelings of resentment, dissatisfaction, pain even boredom. I myself have to work on this because there are too many negative outcomes to these reactions. (Ask my husband). What does all the complaining do? It breeds and feeds usually a negative response and a negative attitude. If you gossip with someone for example it draws the attention to all the negative circumstances and aspects around you. I know what I am talking about because I have done it too many times. All this complaining never results in joy and feeling awesome – you just sink more and more in misery. And this impacts everyone around us. What complaining does? It creates more negativity! Misery just loves company. It just makes us feel better in the moment to complain and the more you focus on the “problem” and draw even more attention to it, it will direct more “negative” people towards you too.
This is for you Jean: “Complaining does not change a situations! Taking action does”!
I believe that it is just ok to not be comfortable at points. But one does not have to complain all the time about the same things over and over because it emotionally and physically brings you down. Further, it is unattractive. Go to work and spend time with “negative people” and listen to their complaints. It is unenjoyable and annoying because usually there is this self-centered emphasis. Then I usually feel like a victim as well. Blaming others, constantly blaming others that I feel better is usually what we do.
I figured out for myself that complaining less shifts the focus to the positive. It even makes you glow – makes you feel more at peace and content. How can we complain less? Good question!
I figured out some points for myself and would love to share them. I am far from perfect of using them but I try to apply these points daily.
Firstly it is important to know your triggers. When are you complaining the most? In the morning, late afternoon, evening? With your spouse? At work? With colleagues/friends? Try to avoid triggers/trigger words, even certain people. You should not surround yourself with negative people anyway.
I heard myself say many times: “I will never ever complain again/or gossip”! This usually never works. I just try to be mindful of particular situations and try maybe to go one day without complaining. I just concentrate on this one day and for me it works. There is also this slight difference between complaining and helpful criticism. Of course there will be times when it is appropriate to complain when something wrong has been committed for example. Always ask yourself if the situation can be somehow resolved. If not, the complaints are useless.
It is important to know who you are talking to. Who is the audience? Can this person help me solve my problem or is there an interest in coming up with a solution for me? If you need to complain do it briefly and see how the other person reacts. Is the person helpful?
Many complain to validate their worth to others. For example they tell you how busy they are, and they do this and that and nobody notices it, and they work all these long hours and do so much more for their boss or job. These things are usually said to subtly communicate their importance. Trying to impress others with complaints usually does not work either. Well if you need to do it at least you won’t have any friends in the long run or friends of importance.
The most important thing for me now is that I have to first consider alternatives before complaining. I used to never consider that there is a different way, a different approach. And of course the fact that this is an imperfect world. Life throws us curveballs once in a while and let’s us deal with situations we do not expect or we have not planned. Out of experience there is always pain, trial and trouble. But this is okay. This is life. This makes it interesting. My mom usually says: “The world does not revolve around you”! Discomfort in any way should not surprise me and I am not the only one experiencing it anyway.
Usually complaining does only spread negativity and sparks conflict. I am happier without it and I try to move forward and embrace the positive instead.