Admit it, we like to complain a little too much and what does it get us? Mostly headaches, indigestion or crappy moods.
1 : to express grief, pain, or discontent; 2 : to make a formal accusation or charge
When we experience a problem, we can’t wait to tell anyone who will listen to us what happened and how it’s horrible, terrible, a disaster, a travesty of justice! Complaining is how we express our dissatisfaction without actually doing something to address the problem, or shall we say the perceived problem and possible opportunity to “be the change we wish to see in the world,” as Mahatma Gandhi said.
The real problem is that what we focus on expands. If we keep rehashing the problem every chance we get, we keep rehashing the yucky, unwanted feelings resulting from the unsavory experience. The only way to feel better is to actually do something to address the problem. So, are you problem focused or solution oriented?
The key is to follow your joy – follow what feels good. Complaining does not feel good – it just perpetuates the feelings of disappointment, dissatisfaction and disempowerment. Instead, be proactive and take some action to resolve the problem or simply let it go and focus on something that is productive and makes you feel good; this will lead to feelings of relief and empowerment.
Mel’s Two Cents: I invite you – no, I DARE YOU to not complain for one entire day!
When the urge arises to go tell someone, anyone how you’ve been wronged:
- STOP and take a few deep breaths
- acknowledge your feelings and allow yourself to actually feel them as they are valid – suppressing them only leads to stress and dis-ease; be patient and compassionate with yourself as you’d be with your BFF
- make a list of possible, positive solutions and action steps to address the problem (no beating anyone to a pulp, flattening tires or breaking windows – your life is not a made for cable TV drama)
- if no solution is possible, think about how the problem may have offered a lesson or some clarity; then let it go and shift your focus onto something else that’s productive and feels good
- Practice affirmations about how you want to be and feel: I forgive and set myself free. I always maintain my peace. I can choose peace instead of this. I am calm and clear. I’ve survived worse. I am (insert your desire here).
May the force be with you my friends as this is no easy task but I have faith that you can do it! If you slip up, it’s ok, just start over and keep trying. I needed a refresher in this department and figured I’d invite you to do it with me as there is strength in numbers :)
Until next time.
P.S. For courage and inspiration, I leave you with a well-known excerpt from Theodore Roosevelt’s speech “Citizenship In A Republic” delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on April 23, 1910:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
YOU CAN DO IT!!!
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