What if you spent an entire day without complaining? How would that change your perspective? How uncomfortable would it be to refrain from voicing a complaint and accept the reality of a situation and continue to move forward? I’m not suggesting that we all become passive and not speak up about unequitable, unjust, or unacceptable behaviors, I’m suggesting we think about how to voice our feelings and thoughts in a more productive and healthy way that result in either a reasonable solution or follow up plan of action.
We all have our moments of complaining and it’s totally understandable. Especially when we feel frustrated, upset, fearful, confused, and overwhelmed. At the end of the day we have to ask, what is the point of complaining? Are we seeking validation from other people? Maybe. Do we need to complain about how tough our day was in order for people to understand that we are struggling? Or are we looking to excuse our own behavior through the fault of something/someone else? Maybe we complain to connect with others. I’m sure many of us have complained about another person or event to someone and it made us feel closer and more connected than before. Are we complaining often because we don’t feel that anyone hears us otherwise? Or are we complaining because we are fearful? The next time you hear yourself complaining or feel the need to air out a complaint, ask yourself these questions:
–What is the purpose of my complaint? Or What do I need right now from this situation?
–Is this something that serves me well or can I let it go?
–If this serves me well or I feel strongly enough about it, what can I do to positively impact the situation or create change?
Once you realize those answers you can more easily determine how to frame your thoughts and feelings in a productive and helpful way instead of simply complaining about it with no means of appeasing your emotions tied to the situation.
The challenge is not about complaining, it’s the discovery of what is driving the complaint. Ultimately if we approach our struggles with more self-understanding and awareness we are more likely to find a solution that not only helps our own sense of well-being but promotes more peace and contentment within our immediate environment. I do not envision a world without complaint, but I love the idea of changing our personal space and space around us to a place where complaints are less frequent and ideas of action/resolve are the common theme.
There is an important disclaimer about increasing your awareness of your own complaining: once you become aware of how often (and honestly, how easy) it is to complain within yourself….you will start noticing it much more in everyone else around you. This is not an easy thing to navigate because as you begin living with an intention to complain less and act more, it can be incredibly taxing to be more attuned to everyone else’s complaints. The best advice I can offer in those moments is to practice love, understanding, compassion, and kindness for both the other person and especially yourself and to remember that it is not your place to learn lessons for other people. After all, lessons can be helpful but the models of those lessons are way more powerful. Be a model of Love, Understanding, Compassion, and Kindness and enjoy the space that you create around you.