I’m sure if you are anything like me, then you find yourself complaining about this or that throughout your day. It comes easily when we are upset about how something played out. Or maybe the way that someone treated us at work or in any other of our relationships. We all do it from time to time and some complaining is normal and even healthy. But, with that being said there is a line that can be crossed that takes complaining from blowing off steam to using it as an unhealthy coping skill.
And just an FYI Complaining in this article is not just about any time we air grievances to people for the purpose of creating change. It is mainly for finding the healthy ways to catch ourselves when stuck in a routine of complaining just for complaining’s sake
Why do We Complain and is there anything good about Complaining.
So why do we complain? It might seem like a complex question but I believe it is more simple than it seems. We complain when we are upset about something, when something internally does not feel right. When upset, our inner tension seeks to find relief. So we discuss what is giving us displeasure about this, that, and the other thing. Not discussing what is bothering us is a recipe for bottled up stress and more dissatisfaction. But taking complaining too far can become like a drug in the wrong hands, giving instant personal gratification but long term undesired consequences.
There is a problem at hand when complaining and we may be looking for a solution. Granted there are those who complain all the time no matter what. But generally there is irritation and we either consciously or unconsciously seek to understand what is bothering us. Like if there are problems that need grievances aired to create change.
Is there anything good about complaining? I can think of only one good reason why complaining could potentially good. When we complain we may talk to several people or just a few and hopefully somewhere along the lines we are given what we needed to hear. Whoever is on the receiving end of our complaints just might be able to snap us out of it. Then we can get busy looking for creative ways to better our lives.
Ways that complaining negatively impacts life.
There are numerous ways in which complaining impacts our lives. Whatever the situation may be, repeatedly complaining about the same thing increases negative feelings and adds more stress. When this takes place we are generally not looking for a solution from those who are listening to us, but rather to receive sympathy, attention, or validation.
And what happens to the people that we consistently complain to in order to find relief from what ails our minds? What we may not realize is that listening to complaints can be draining for the people we are unloading this on. It erodes happiness as well as the ability to feel good will towards others. And it certainly doesn’t bring any positivity to our peers.
Another way that complaining can impact us negatively is that it keeps us stuck and unable to move forward. Ruminating on the same situation harvests negative feelings over and over again. There is a certain amount of acceptance we need to have over certain situations we can’t do much about. Acceptance has taken the back seat when we don’t allow ourselves to move on from whatever it is that we are complaining about. It doesn’t matter if it happened two hours ago or two days ago, continuously talking about it will not help to let go.
My experience with complaining.
Now, I know that this is something that I struggle with at times. I find it easiest to complain and dive right in with coworkers complaints while I am working. Working in retail is not always the easiest thing and I encounter a variety of people in a day. As you can imagine not all of them are the nicest. Not having a positive experience with them makes complaining about them seem effortless. Going through our work day we end up sharing stories mostly of the things that went wrong or upset us. There are plenty of positive things that happen throughout the day but those stories are told less frequently.
Recently at work I was focusing on complaining less and a customer told me that my spirit was very refreshing. It was nice to hear and we both had a positive experience. But, I know for a fact that had I not been focusing on not complaining that our encounter would not have gone as it did. This got me thinking about some of the positive consequences that might continue to show up in my life as a result of less complaining. It also excited a new desire to stay more mindful about the ways I complain and finding ways to stop.
Stopping the process of complaining
1. Have People in Your Life that Stop You From Complaining.
Having someone to talk through issues with rather than fueling the complaint will get you better results. We recommend having close relationships that will not allow our complaining to control our conversation with them. This way you can reach needed solutions rather than spinning in circles, hyper focused solely on the problem. These people can seem like complete pains in the ass but in the long run the way they help us take responsibility for our current situation is priceless.
2. Practicing Acceptance.
Nothing will ever change if there is no acceptance for what is at hand. We complain because we have not accepted and moved on from whatever issue we can’t change. Again, this is what keeps us stuck. Once a level of acceptance has been reached then we can stop ourselves from continuing to complain about the same thing. Then maybe we can find a place to put in some productive action.
3. Positivity and Gratitude.
Focusing on gratitude and pulling out positive thoughts can stop complaining in its tracks. For instance thinking about that one really nice customer instead of complaining about the bad one can help to keep negative feelings out. When we are practicing gratitude it becomes easy to let complaints go to the wayside.
4. Don’t Engage in the Complaining of Others.
When hearing others complain about something don’t dive in and add fuel to the fire. We can amp each other up while we complain. It may feel good in the moment but overall there are no positive feelings to bounce off of each other. Knowing that I do not have to participate in negative conversations allows me to choose gratitude verses other negative feelings.
5. Take Productive Action.
Putting energy into not complaining is not the easiest thing to do. But having put a stop to the complaining there is finally an opening to take productive action. Productive action is using that upset energy and putting it to work to take care of what is causing our problem. It definitely takes more work to take a productive action than it does to complain. But there is no better way to release our creative energy from focusing on the problem.
It is true that the more we complain the more hardwired the behavior becomes in our brains, the same as any other behavior we learn. It is also true that well worn habitual behaviors are able to be changed if we are willing to put in the work and feel the discomfort of not using them. For me it has been challenging but I find that with practice I am getting better about not giving my complaints the light of day.
I wish you well on your path to lessening the amount of complaining you do. And thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment today. If you enjoyed what you read then I would love for you to do a couple things for us.
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My Life Experiment
Welcome! We are Travis and Casey Hagen, the writer's and owner's of My Life Experiment. As recovering Individuals, we are no strangers to leaving behind dysfunctional ways of living. Over the years we have become adept at managing our intense mental and emotional worlds. Finding healing from the past, peace in the present and new ways to bring about success for our futures. We promote Healthy Life Experimentation Principles for connecting with ourselves, our relationships, and finding healthier ways of bringing about success in our lives. Stick around and pick up what we have learned. You will not be disappointed.