When I was younger, I used to complain a lot. I used to get rid of all the burden from my chest.
I did it because I was not aware about effective strategies to deal with my challenges, and, moreover, complaining made me feel better in the very moment.
How long did the relief after complaining last? A while only.
Did complaining help me to solve my challenges? Not really.
Did complaining annoy people around me? Yes. Even more with time.
Complaining is a nasty habit. What I mean here is the chronic complaining, not the occasional rambling about things (which is acceptable of course). Chronic complaining is nasty because it really becomes a second nature for those who complain. Complainers often don’t realize their negativity, neither their ever-present feeling of helplessness. They firmly believe that they are discussing their problems with others.
The first step towards a life without complains is to became aware of your complaining and take responsibility for it.
I became aware of my complaining thanks to the direct communication of my Dutch colleagues, way back when I was living in Holland. Dutch people do not complain in the traditional sense. If things go bad, they usually make a joke or tell a sarcastic story about the events. They employ laugh, sarcasm or cynicism in order to relieve anger, frustration or tension. They are brought up in a way that encourages them to take the responsibility for their lives. And I have learned a lot from them.
It is so easy to complain about your external world. It is so easy to blame others for your health, lack of perspectives, bad education, poor economy in your country, crisis, bad politicians, too much work, too little work, unhappy relations, unsatisfying job, etc. But it changes nothing.
Talk, talk, talk
Complaining mode is basically a talking mode in which you talk, talk, talk. And talk. And talk even more. Things just happen to you and you are a victim of events, decisions and choices. You feel injustice deep inside and want to express it to the whole world. You have the most difficulties in the world and all people have it easier, don’t they?
Complaining mode is a self-pity pit. You sit in a hole and keep lamenting on how bad things are. Life is difficult for you and you feel it in your bones. You make yourself powerless. Of course, shit happens. If it’s start raining, it suddenly pours. There are difficulties and hard times. Yet, you are not alone. Perhaps you did not have the best education possible, you did not experience unconditional love as a child, you had to work hard from early years, you had strict parents or you had to deal with addictions. You could have gone through multiple hardships. Whatever your past and your circumstances, please realize that your attitude and proactivity can change everything.
Complaining mode is a drought mode. You want to be heard and understood. But you don’t listen. You don’t want advice. You don’t want feedback. You don’t want to grow. You want a comfortable comfort zone. Even when friends, family, or strangers open their ears and hearts to you, there is hardly any communication. You just continuously talk about your difficulties and frustrations.
But you still feel empty after a while, don’t you? You simply don’t connect with people.
There is an outflow of words, emotions and information. Is there any quality inflow???
A way out
It takes an effort to live your life without complains, but it is possible.
First, you need to became aware about your thinking, your feelings and the language you use. Do you constantly project negative experiences on others? Are you continuously unhappy about your life? How about your thoughts? Whatever comes, reframe your negativity into a positive focus:
- What makes you happy?
- What makes you feel powerful?
- How can you become proactive?
- How can you modify your circumstances to your best?
- What is the best strategy to solve the issue of…?
You need to replace your negativity with positivity and replace the habit of complaining with the habit of gratitude. You simply develop gratitude because you learn to appreciate what comes, learn from it and develop a conviction that you can handle everything with grace. Practice makes master.
Whatever comes to you in your life, just say to yourself “I will handle this”. And shut up.
The image above shows a beautiful quilt by Inge Duin. See www.ingeduin.nl for more details.