For whatever reason, I feel like I’ve been complaining a lot lately. I am not in good shape. Why can’t I eat healthier? I don’t have many friends. My house is a mess. I wish I was traveling…… And after so many complaints and criticisms, I started to ask myself why? Why am I complaining?
I determined that complaining is often due to genuine dissatisfaction or comparison.
Often times we complain because we are genuinely dissatisfied with ourselves and our lives. Maybe we are out of shape, and have been for a while. Or we’ve been desiring to travel, but haven’t yet booked a trip. So, we complain about it. Rather than actually doing anything about it. Complaining makes us aware of our dissatisfaction, and makes us feel like we are doing something about it. When in reality, we are not. Complaining doesn’t actually count as doing anything. It just reminds us of our dissatisfaction, over and over and over again.
So, instead of complaining, make a decision to actually do something. Either completely accept what you are complaining about. Let it go. Forget about it. Or else take action towards it. You can’t keep complaining, and do absolutely nothing about it. But you also can’t move past the dissatisfaction, until you actually accept it. Choose one or the other. Continuing to complain is not an option.
Another reason complaining occurs, is due to comparison. When I see another person in great shape, I compare myself. Causing me complain about my own fitness level, and how I should probably workout more. However, if I hadn’t compared myself to this other person in the first place, I wouldn’t have anything to complain about. My fitness level would be good enough, exactly where it is. My complaining was due to comparison. And this can happen with any type of comparison: health, fitness, beauty, career, family, finances. Comparisons to others, to yourself, the past, the future, or to some arbitrary standard. Any type of comparing, will eventually lead to you finding something to complain about.
But trying to stop ourselves from comparisons is hard, if not impossible. So, what can we do? First of all, remember that everyone compares, including me and you. Don’t feel guilty about it. Recognize that comparisons are multi-sided. If you compare fitness levels with someone that is extremely fit, also compare education, family life, career, or finances. Because no one has it all together. You’ll start to see that even if you aren’t in great shape, or have a lot of money. You have a great family life or career. There is give and take for everything.
But to try and stop comparing for good, just don’t pay attention to others. In the superficial way. Go straight for the heart. Their passions, personality, who they are on the inside, as humans. Once you get to know someone more intimately or deeper, there will be no need, desire or reason to compare. And inevitably, no reason to complain either.
The End of Complaining
When you find yourself complaining a lot, like I was. Stop for a minute, or 2, or 10. And think about your complaints. Are they continual complaints, representing some sort of genuine dissatisfaction? A change that needs to be made? Or are they due to comparing? Comparisons to self, others, standards, the past or the present? Once you can recognize where the complaining comes from, you can be better prepared to deal with it. And slowly try to get rid of it.
Since I normally don’t like to complain, and pretty much grew up as the happy child. I know instinctively, that complaining and negativity means something is off in myself and life. Something is just not right. Something needs to be fixed, or done differently. Basically, I’m ready for something new. Different. A change.
What helps you to stop complaining? What does complaining mean for you and your life?