We all do it at some point or another, usually quite a few times per day and generally too much. We complain about the weather, our jobs, our partners, our friends, our cars, our houses, our headaches, our food, our plants, our animals and pretty much everything else. Why do we do this? I think that we all know that complaining doesn’t actually fix anything or make anything better, but we still do it, all the time. Some people do it a lot more than others, but in general most people are doing it too much. Perhaps we can find out an answer.
Most people do not even realize how much they complain because it is a habit, and like most habits it tends to be so familiar that it goes unnoticed. A complaint can generally be a good icebreaker for some people. Do you ever find yourself or someone else commenting on things like how crappy the weather is, how long the line is or that the store or bank should have more cashiers on? It seems that it is easier for people to say something negative and get a good response than it is to say something positive. People also complain because they want validation for their negative thoughts, they want to know that other people agree with what they are saying.
The thing about complaining is that it actually creates more negativity in our lives, and the more you do it the more down you feel, it is like a snowball effect. Sometimes we tend to use a complaint as an excuse for something, if we are late we might say that the traffic was out of control today, instead of taking responsibility for our actions and just taking a mental note that we should have left earlier. Being frustrated with something like traffic on the way to work, which is entirely out of your control, can actually make you feel down or upset for the entire day. This one complaint sets off a bad mood, which often leads to even more complaining. In turn this isn’t just affecting your mood, but everyone’s mood around you as well. Have you ever noticed how drained you feel after getting together with a friend and all they do is complain? Have you found yourself completely drained after complaining a lot to a friend? There is no doubt about it complaining brings us down. To clarify, there is a difference between an observation and a complaint, an observation is simply noticing something and making a comment about it without any judgment or negativity towards it. You can probably feel pretty easily whether or not you are making an observation or a judgment.
So What Can We Do?
The first step to breaking this habit is to admit you have a problem… just kidding. The first step is to be aware of your complaints throughout the day. I watched an episode of Oprah about 5 years ago and one of the topics was about a book called “A Complaint Free World,” and a technique was discussed to assist with breaking this habit. You wear a bracelet on your wrist either the left or right, every time you complain you have to switch the bracelet over to the other wrist. The goal is to eventually not have to switch the bracelet at all for an entire day. This is a great tool to help you become more mindful of your complaints, but also the less you complain the easier it is for you to completely break the habit.
Try to lessen your judgments towards people and situations, if you aren’t judging so often you most certainly won’t be complaining. When these judgments do come up, try and look at why they are happening in the first place and why you are bothered by what other people are doing, or the situation you’re in. If you can’t change the situation that you’re in you have no choice but to walk away from it, or accept it.
A big one is to just try not to dwell on things and don’t take things too seriously. Sometimes small problems are greatly exaggerated, but in the grand scheme of things how important is it really?
Now with all this being said, I don’t think that it is a good idea to pent up all of our anger, frustration and unhappiness, I think it is very important to express ourselves and ‘vent’ from time to time. The key here is to look at our thoughts and actions and be aware of how we are feeling and thinking. Changing our negativity, not blocking or ignoring it, but getting to the point where little things are not making us upset anymore, so instead of blocking all of your anger, you just aren’t feeling as much of it. I think the world would be a much happier place if we would focus more on the awesome aspects to life, rather than the draining, depressing sides to it! We can all do our part to see this happen, its up to us to
“Be The Change You Wish To See In The World.” 🙂
Sources and further readings
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