We usually complain when we feel completely helpless. We complain about things we think we can’t change. But just because we think we can’t change something, doesn’t mean we have to keep standing there and staring at it.
Complaining is something we learn from other people, and have to unlearn.
Complaining makes us feel good — for a little while. When we complain, we practice a kind of passivity. We give up control and make excuses to justify poor behaviours.
What does complaining do?
- Makes people less willing to help you
- Wastes your time and energy
- Drives away your friends and family
- Blinds you to what’s good in life
- Makes you passive and complacent
Beware that not everything counts as complaining – You’re allowed to get angry, especially as a last resort — if there’s a purpose to your anger. Suppressing negative thoughts can do just as much damage as dwelling on them. Faking happiness can make you sadder.
What isn’t complaining?
- Expressing your emotions
- Demanding fair treatment
- Voicing dissatisfaction
- Protesting for your rights
- Sharing bad news
- Conveying disappointment
- Asking for help
- Criticizing poor behavior
- Pointing out a flaw
- Telling someone no
- Giving someone a warning
That last one works well as an antidote to complaining. If we think about it, it’s amazing how many of us complain about things that we could put an end to — a lousy job, a boss we don’t like, friends and family who don’t appreciate us, commitments we dread. We can make all of this go away with a two-letter word. Use it generously, and then you’ll wind up with a little less to complain about.
Choose where your mind goes — but be patient with yourself
It’s useful to remember that we have a choice over where our thoughts go. Of course, it does take discipline and practice. So when your mind wanders to a negative place or you feel like complaining, just try to accept whatever is happening without any judgment. Then gently bring your awareness back to the present and return to what you are doing or to more positive thoughts. At a time when so much is outside our control, it is helpful to emphasize what we do have control over our reactions and our thoughts.
At Pointnorth we teach you how to be the master of your mind. You will embrace the concept that you have three “brains” that allow you to move from thinking to doing to being. We will explore with you how to break free from emotions that you’ve memorized, how to rewrite your automatic habits, attitudes, and other unwanted subconscious programs.