Chronic complaining is a draining habit. It tires the one who complaints and the others who act as listeners. It kills joy and serves no growth. How sad it is!
If you want to live a life of joy and become complainant-free, there are two strategies you need to implement in your life. The first one is a long-term strategy. In this strategy you address the roots of the problem by working on your own consciousness.
Long-term strategy: the conscious YOU
To my understanding there are four main causes behind repetitive complaining. These are
- self-perpetuated negativity
- unhealthy self-esteem
- lack of self-efficacy, and
- unfulfilled needs.
You may have an issue with one of them or all of them. In any case, you need to take the responsibility for all these aspects in your life. At the moment, you may start by working on building six pillars of self-esteem. The topics of defeating negativity, building self-efficacy and addressing unfulfilled needs will be covered sometime in the future.
Short-term strategy: accept or act
While you may need to wait some time before you observe effects of the long-term strategy and noticeable changes in yourself, there are direct actions that you need to take every day. These actions form a short-term strategy and need to be implemented over and over so that a new habit can be put in place.
If you are unhappy about a given situation, event or behavior you have two choices:
- you EITHER accept the situation as it is and adjust yourself and circumstances to handle it better OR
- you take an action and keep taking actions (if necessary) in order to change the things you are unhappy about.
How-to: stop before you start
You have to make a deal with yourself to stop complaining and act in one of the two scenarios above (note that acceptance is also an action). First, you need to ask your consciousness to make you aware when you complain. You want to catch the early moment when you start complaining. You can simply do it by creating a mental request to yourself in which you ask your consciousness observer to make it loud to you. You ask for an additional sign such as an image of lightning in your head or a sudden feeling of very cold water. Whatever the signal it should be strong enough to make you shake and notice it in an instant.
When you notice own complaining, STOP immediately. Pause for a second and ask yourself whether you are willing to take action to change the things you are unhappy about. This is something we can evaluate internally very fast, simply because it touches upon our desires to act. If yes, brainstorm proactively (with yourself or the help of others) what can be done and how to improve the case. If not, make a decision to accept the situation.
Face the truth and ask yourself how to adapt and make the best of the circumstances you are in. Acceptance may take some time, and it is okey. Take all the time you need.
Be firm and don’t subscribe to self-pity. Stick to action and plan a reward for yourself when you are successful. Give yourself a treat or buy a massage when you transform complaining into action. Build a hierarchy of sensible rewards to keep yourself motivated. It’s important.
In the evenings, practice the feeling of gratitude for five things or events you experienced during a day. Write it down for a more profound effect.
Follow for 21 days. And your new habit of gratitude will be formed.
What is complaining???
Photo copyright by Moyan Brenn. Photo available under the Creative Commons license on Flickr.