What Really Happens When We Complain
It's too hot. It's too cold. It's too early. I slept too late. None of my clothes are clean. I hate all of my clothes!! Why do I have so many e-mails. I'm just so tired.
Complaining is "normal." We do it without realizing - and that's the scariest part of it. I don't remember the last time it rained without me finding it absolutely necessary to provide my negative assessment of the weather to strangers and my husband alike.
A few things that happen when we complain:
1. We validate ourselves over others. What I need is more important than what you need. Oh, and by the way, I obviously know exactly what I need. Also, I'm extremely busy.
2. We impose our bad attitude on to others. So you were in good spirits before I walked into the room and started talking about how lame my weekend was? My bad. But seriously, let me tell you how lame it was.
3. We think we should be more powerful than others at all times. Does she really think she can drive in MY LANE going THAT SPEED right now?!
Conclusion? Complaining belittles others, no matter which way you look at it.
I'm sure at least one person in my city is happy about the rain, so what is my capacity to become happier for a stranger than I am bummed out for myself? Does it even matter?
I think it does. If complaining belittles others then imagine what happens when we don't complain: We create an atmosphere of peace and acceptance, we let things roll off our shoulders much easier, and we see true needs for what they are. Better yet, we may even have the conscious ability to help out.
So, how do we minimize our complaining (and become more fun to be around)? Here are a few tips to battle the normalcy of complaint:
1. Start with thankfulness. Make a list of what makes you happy then try to remember all day long.
2. Replace your thoughts. If you've read the Hunger Games trilogy then you know that a certain character has their memory wiped away and altered to become a sick version of what it once was. To combat this, they slowly go through each memory and replace the altered version with the truth. I actually think there is some practical application, here. It's less about replacing memories (though, that's cool if you're post-apocalyptic), and more about recognizing lies and actively replacing them with a new truth. I.e., "That lady is speeding and needs to cool it," could become, "I hope there isn't an emergency and that everything is okay." I know...easier than it sounds.
3. Think about what you're thinking about. I've heard this one before and it's more powerful as it develops. Sit on it for awhile. What thoughts occupy your mind? Are they peaceful? Positive? True? Kind? Centered around your next meal (guilty)? If out of the heart the mouth speaks, then it's worth checking in to see what's going on in there before your words betray you at the worst moment.
4. Lose control. Have you ever tried sowing into the things you want or need? Let go of power. Give away the need for control. You'll find yourself more at peace or possibly in a greater position through surrendering what you think is owed to you.
5. Compliment others. Invest in this one - even with strangers. If you think someone has a nice smile, tell them. If you like their shoes, tell them. There isn't any point for a positive thought about someone else to stay trapped in your own mind. It came to you for a reason, and maybe that reason is to make someone's day. By the way, this will always come back to you one way or another.
6. Practice. I'll be taking a day this week to detox from complaining. If it rains, I'll be thankful that one stranger is happy! If someone is speeding, I'll change lanes and carry on. If I find myself wanting to complain, I'll do my best to nip it in the bud and let it go.
As always, we're in this together. How do you battle complaining? Tell us your tips in the comments or click the heart in the bottom right if you're going to join me in some complaint dextoxing this week!
I also wanted to give a quick update on the 30/30 Refresh Challenge, in which we don't let phones control our lives. I went a week and made it through fairly easily, though I didn't read as much as I wanted and when I finally did pick up my phone in the morning I felt a bit overwhelmed. After the challenge ended I felt all too excited to be "allowed" to check my phone when I woke up again, so clearly this is where my struggle lies. All-in-all an eye opening experience and I felt much better going to sleep at night having not just starred at screens for the last 30 minutes. Still, the battle goes on :)