They say a little complaining never hurt, I say complaining never helped anyone. Here’s what you can do, instead.
Recently, I picked up my copy of “The Power of Now,” a book that was recommended to me by my therapist as a tool to help me deal with my anxiousness, stress, and overthinking.
When I arrived at page 82, under the subheading “Wherever You Are, Be There Totally”, author Eckhart Tolle goes deeper into the concept of unconscious thinking.
When asked to provide examples of what unconscious thinking looks like, he starts with the most common form: complaining.
Complaining: A Common Language for the Unhappy
“To complain is always nonacceptance of what is,” he explains, “When you complain, you make yourself into a victim.”
This line received the writer’s stamp of approval, aka a yellow highlighter, and a verbal “YES!”.
I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Tolle.
I hate complaining.
It used to be something I did a lot of, if not to vent my frustrations, definitely as a conversation starter.
It’s a common language that unites the unhappy.
Have you ever noticed how common it is for people to resort to complaining as a coping mechanism?
My problem is not necessarily the actual complaint. It’s how it starts and ends there.
Very few people seek solutions to the problems that are constantly on their lips; it’s as if they find comfort in the unhappiness.
I’m a firm believer that complaining is pointless. Sure, it may feel good at the moment, especially when others can relate, but aside from the temporary release of your pain, how else is it beneficial?
It would be more helpful to turn the complaints into a moment of self-reflection.
Time for Self-Reflection
Pay attention to the things you often complain about. It is your mind trying to tell you something: you’re unhappy.
You’re not happy with the job you’re doing, the person you’re dating, or the apartment you live in.
You’re not happy with the way you look, the amount of money you have, or the way you’re being treated.
You’re not happy with the direction your life is headed. That much is clear. But, after a while, we have to take responsibility and have ownership over our lives because anything else makes us a victim, and we are not victims.
You are in control of your life, your mind, and your emotions.
You do get to control your narrative and the direction your life is headed.
It’s easy to give up the power and play the victim. This way, we don’t have to deal with accountability. But there’s freedom in owning your life. There’s power in responsibility.
The real question is, what do you plan to do with your power?
The Only Two Options There Are
When faced with an unhappy circumstance, as humans, we are left with two choices: accept it or take action.
By making the conscious (or unconscious) decision to do nothing, you are left in a mental limbo. This is where your pain comes from.
The pain is rooted in the inactivity and continuing to leave your unhappiness unaddressed.
Try this: when complaints come up, try asking yourself, “what can I do about it?”.
If there are solutions and steps that can be taken, map them out and execute them but start right away. Sitting idly on these steps just puts you back to square one.
If the situation is beyond your control and nothing can be done to make it better, you have to accept it.
The path of acceptance is not an easy one, it will take practice and lots of mental strength. But the latter option is no better or healthier.
The opposite of acceptance is denial, and that denial is what is feeding your pain.
I’m not saying that no one cares about your feelings or to keep them to yourself; we all get down about something. What I’m suggesting is that instead of sitting in these feelings and resorting to complaining to resolve them, which could potentially snowball into bigger problems (such as declining mental health), you should instead seek solutions and ways to help yourself because you are stronger than you give yourself credit for 🙂
So the next time a complaint comes up, what do you intend to do about it?
Are you going to step up, take ownership, and find a way to improve your life and strengthen your mind?
Or will you continue to standby and be a victim of your circumstances?
The choice is yours.