Up until recently, I complained about everything. Yes, I was a complainer.
And it wasn’t until I decided to stop complaining until I realized how annoying and useless it was. Because when you complain, you’re not only not solving the problem, but you’re making it seem bigger than it really is.
Sometimes, some things are just out of our control and we have to just let them be.
But other times when you can do something about it, it’s best to just detach yourself from the situation a bit until you can gain some clarity on the situation and start taking action.
The reason why I complained so much is because I wanted to feel validated. But in a lot of ways, I was acting like a victim. And even more so, I felt like a victim. Complaining about something makes you feel stuck, hopeless, and trapped. Like it’s out of your hands.
But it’s not.
You aren’t stuck, hopeless, or trapped. you may feel that way, because you choose to be.
You can’t expect to talk circles around it until things get better. You have to make them better, and I think that’s the hard part.
When you’ve played the victim role your whole life, it’s really hard to get out of it (speaking from experience). But until you do, you’re just going to keep running on the hamster wheel wondering, “Why does this keep happening to me?”
The truth is bad things happen to everyone, but you’re so focused on yourself that you think it’s only happening to you.
I’ve found that the most effective way to stop complaining is: the next time something happens and you’re about to tell someone, don’t. Don’t tell anyone. I’m not saying to bottle up all your emotions, but let yourself cool off for a couple of hours or days. Instead of being reactive to everything, just let things be.
And it’s going to be really hard to do this at first, especially since we live in an era of instant gratification.
When we complain, we want to feel validated. We want someone to say “Oh yeah, your pain is so horrible” and so the next time something happens, we want someone to agree with how horrible our lives are which ironically you end up attracting more of.
The more you complain, the more horrible your life is going to seem. We attract more of the energy we’re sending out into the world and whatever energy we’re allowing in, and that’s why we’re the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with.
... and if you’re still not convinced, here are 4 great reasons why you should stop complaining:
1. It takes up time.
This could be time spent coming with a solution, taking action, and working on more important things. When we complain, we’re spending not only our time, but also our energy and attention. If you haven’t noticed yet, we only have so much time, energy, and attention within a day.
(Related: 6 Ways To Be More Present In Everyday Life)
2. Misery loves company.
When people complain about how much they hate their jobs after work, it’s hard to be that person that loves their job. Or even likes their job. Do you really want to spend 40+ hours a week hating your life and spend about 10+ hours a week talking about how much you hate your job? Doesn’t that seem a little… ridiculous and silly? Plus, have you ever noticed how much people love to compete about who has it worst? Why are we having a competition over this? What's so great about "having it the worst"? Some food for thought.
3. You’re addicted to feeling bad.
And you love playing victim. I know, because I used to be that person. Negativity is really addicted, but I can tell you it’s not fun feeling disempowered and hopeless. Taking action and empowering yourself is way better, seriously. You don’t have to live life a certain way because someone else told you this is “just the way life is”; life is literally what you choose to make it out to be.
4. It affects all areas of your life.
Because we can’t really compartmentalize our lives. Your career affects your family, your family affects your health, your health affects your finances, etc. It’s all a part of life, and you can’t separate one thing from another. So when you’re miserable from one thing and you allow yourself to complain about how horrible that thing is - suddenly, you’re feeling horrible about everything. Suddenly, everything seems horrible.
So the next time you feel like complaining, don’t. Take a deep breathe (in fact, multiple take breathes and step away.)
Allow yourself time to cool down and really feel into your emotions. Be okay with feeling uncomfortable.
After a while, you’ll start to feel more grounded, calm, and have the ability to make better decisions.