Complaining ruins your life in a variety of ways. It has an impact on your physical, mental, and spiritual life. On top of that, the simple act of complaining pushes you further and further away from your goal. The good news is out of all the actions you want to take to change your life, the action of never complaining again is going to provide an immediate impact. While complaining may feel good for a short amount of time, it doesn’t help you feel good overall.
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Focus on the solution
Studies show complaining causes people to feel stressed and depressed in many instances. This is because you are focusing on the problem and not the solution. Whenever you are focusing on the solution, you are allowing your mind to feel in control of the situation. Complaining ruins your life because it causes you to feel that life is happening to you and there is little you can do about it.
Have you ever heard someone complaining and you immediately offered them the solution to their problem? How did they respond? If I had to guess, they responded by telling you they were not interested in the solution. All they wanted was for you to listen to them vent about their problems. Oftentimes, the person who is complaining wants nothing more than someone to reaffirm that their situation is worth complaining about.
Complaining ruins your life and the lives of others
Complaining can damage your close relationships. If you are constantly focusing on the negative aspects of someone else, how do you think you will treat them? It is only reasonably to assume you will show some sort of contempt for them. Whether that is expressed through a short temper or by the fact that you always assume the worse; it is going to damage your relationship.
You can also damage your work relationships in the same way if you are not careful. If you are regularly complaining about leadership or the quality of your coworkers work, it will alienate you from your cohorts. There are always going to be problems and way things could be done better, but if you are not offering solutions, you are part of the problem. Organizations are always looking for people who can help them advance the company’s mission.
The key difference between complaining and constructive recommendations is in one you are recognizing a problem and offering a solution when you make a recommendation. This lets everyone know you have skin in the game and are interested in making things better. Make it your mission to be the person who is offering constructive ways to improve the situation and not simply looking to assign blame.
Shift in perspective
Somewhere along the way, your perspective about your situation changed. However, it is important to remind yourself of the benefits that caused you to accept that job or establish that relationship in the first place. When you first took the job, what was it that excited you about it? While everything may not be exactly as you had hoped, what is better about your current situation because you took the job?
Be thankful for the journey
It is important to be content while you are chasing happiness. Keep in mind that complaining ruins your life because it robs you of the opportunities to celebrate your life each day. It makes your journey towards greatness difficult because you cannot find a reason to continue. By being content and continuing to strive towards your life, you allow yourself to celebrate each day of the journey. You are not going to complain about the length of time you are traveling or the bumps along the way. You are going to count those as lessons and opportunities to strengthen your resolve.
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How to stop complaining and shift your focus to gratitude
Whenever you find it difficult to focus on things you are grateful for, try this small technique and see if it changes your perspective. If you find yourself complaining about your job, tell yourself that you are going to leave. If you are complaining about a relationship, tell yourself you are going to leave that person. Since your mind does not like change, it is going to flood you with reasons to stay. The job you previously loathed is all of sudden looking a little better. You recall the coworkers you will miss and the seniority you will lose.
This technique will also work for personal relationships. When you tell yourself you are going to leave a personal relationship, you will immediately think of a variety of reasons to stay. You will think about the times they helped you through a difficult situation or all the fun events you attended together. Threatening to cut off a part of your life will immediately jolt you out of a complaining mindset and into a mindset of gratitude.
The reason this technique works so well is your mind likes certainty and it is not a fan of drastic change. It is why you order the same food when you go out, sit in the same pew at church, and take the same route to work and home. When you offer an alternative, your mind will fight you to keep things comfortable. This is why changing habits and keeping your resolutions can be so difficult.
Spiritual cost of complaining
The blessing of life is a gift that cannot be overstated. The fact that you wake up each morning in your right mind is something to be thankful for. Our relationship with God is much like the relationship between a parent and their child. If your children spend their time complaining about what you have given them, how likely are you to give them more? Not very likely I assume. There is even the possibility you would consider taking back the gifts and giving it to someone more appreciative. That is what I would do as a father of my four daughters. It is very difficult to want to shower someone with gifts if they are ungrateful for the gifts you have already given them.
Some of you may be thinking about a particular situation that would be very difficult to not complain about. I am not trying to minimize anyone’s journey, but encouraging you to find a way to frame the event so you can use it to positively impact your life. No weapon formed against you shall prosper does not mean you won’t be attacked with weapons, it means you will overcome them.
So don’t complain about the pain you have, be thankful you have the pain because it notifies you to change something. Whether you are touching the oven and need to let go or you need to re-position your body so you don’t break a bone. Don’t complain about the car accident that caused you to be late to an important meeting, be thankful you arrived safely. As tough as it sounds, you cannot go around complaining about the life you have and expect to be given more blessings.
You can find something to be thankful for in the most difficult of situations. Complaining is the activity of destroying your life and gratitude is the activity of constructing your life. By training yourself to recognize the blessings in your life, you will be better equipped to transform your life when the opportunity arises. Your goal is to be grateful for the life you have now, while working towards creating your dream life.
Until next time,
Dre “Better Self, Better Wealth” Griggs