Why It’s So Hard Not to Complain
On November first, I asked you to follow me on a pledge to go complaint-free for a month. Here is the pledge:
I, Farnoosh Brock, pledge that I will not complain about anything to anyone (including myself) for the next 30 days.
So how are you getting on with no complaining?
Just shy of 2 days in, I found myself irritable from suppressing my complaints so I started abusing the word “fact” and stretching the truth about what is and what I perceive to be.
The awareness is brutal. Facts are void of heated emotion, bouts of judgement and overdose of discretion. Facts are just facts. We both know the difference, and I was just fooling myself into another way of getting a minimum amount of complaining out of my system.
I had no earthly clue that I was so fond of complaining!!!
The awareness is the first step to understanding just how very much we all complain. Yes, I admit, I screwed up many times! What I did not do is to give up on the challenge.
See, perfection is not what we are after. Healing from this irritable life-long habit is what I want for me, and for you. So how do we do that?
Our intention is good. We have pledged to stop complaining. We are cheering each other on in our complaint-free Facebook group and I am still getting pledges coming in on the complaint-free post. But there’s more to it than telling yourself to just stop complaining as I have learned the hard way. The reason to stop complaining is two-fold and simple:
1. Complaining is completely useless. Complaining does not help you in anyway and it does not make the situation at hand any better.
2. Complaining is possibly harmful. It can become a nasty habit, make you unattractive and annoying, and shut your eyes to the actual reality of the situation.
Complaining is a form of energy and energy cannot be destroyed but it can be put to a different use. Let’s talk about ways we can channel this brute force that comes out in the negative draining energy of a complaint into a constructive, useful and positive energy. Let’s see if this helps us see the circumstance for what it really is, clear of quick judgement and ego overdose. Let’s keep our nerves calm and our stress level at bay and keep breathing when something small goes astray.
Who knows? We might even catch the lesson or two that life is trying to teach us with this approach!
9 Ways You Forget to Channel the Energy of Complaining
1. Get Very Curious:
This is the easiest and softest approach. Let’s say you are about to express how awfully annoying and rude the driver in front of you is with his inconsistent erratic driving. Instead, get curious. You could say, “You know I wonder if he is having a bad day or if his boss just fired him? If I were him, I’d be driving right into a tree I’d be so mad. Poor guy!” And then give him your best wishes, and go around him to drive off.
2. Change Your Opinion:
Your ego will tell you that your opinion is the same as fact, but unless it’s a fact, it be not a fact. What you think about the restaurant’s service is an opinion. What you think of your horrid boss is also an opinion. What you think about the quality of your father’s temper is again an opinion. So what if you changed your opinion. You made it up you know? You can also change it. Maybe the service is great but today is a bad day for telling. Maybe your boss is horrid because his boss treats him like crap. Maybe your father is angry because his life was really hard and you’d never understand that.
3. Take 3 Deep Breaths:
Deep breaths are a miracle and you know it even if you don’t want to admit it. If you hesitate just 1 minute and channel that negative energy into 3 to 4 deep breaths and then lunge into it, there is no way the complaint would have the same brute force. The deep breath consists of a big inhale, a 3 second hold, and then a slow long exhale to release the air. Repeat 3 times.
4. Ask a Question:
Instead of expressing your “justified” complaint, pause and ask a question. This will work even if you are by yourself. Instead of framing it like a complaint such as “Oh I can’t stand that stupid checkout girl – could she be any slower?” you could ask no one in particular: “What do you think of the way she is checking out her customers?” Is it possible that there’s way to look at the situation?
5. Question Your Thoughts:
Your thoughts shape your reality and you react to that reality. If it pleases you, you are happy and if it displeases you, you complain. So start questioning your thoughts. The first and simplest question is “Is it true?” and then you poke deeper, “Is it absolutely and positively true?” And you will begin to see that there is a chance your thoughts could be at fault and better thoughts can take their place.
6. Use Physical Exercise:
This does not have to be a whole workout routine. This can be a quick stretch and a walk around the block to release tension energy and give you some time away from the circumstance. This applies to more long-term complaints, so find one that you tend to repeat, maybe about your horrid boss. Next time it comes to mind, use that tension to walk around the office or to stretch at your desk for 2 minutes or work on that exit strategy with me. Feel any different?
7. Meditate On It:
Yes, I know. I am a huge fan of meditation but I find it very hard to sit still and meditate. Ashtanga yoga practice is my meditation. You can use moving meditation such as walking, breathing and moving (even for 10 minutes!) and being in nature as all forms of meditation. Meditation simply means shutting out the outside noise and grounding yourself. Complaining is when you are outside yourself, so use the energy to ground and center your body, however you can achieve it.
8. Use Positive Affirmations:
The complaint is a negative affirmation – it affirms the negative. It affirms your thoughts and opinions and you can just as easily turn it around into a positive affirmation. An affirmation is a present-tense phrase used in the first person with only active verbs. So if my complaint is “I can’t stand it when people email me and then never reply to my answer!”, I would turn it into an affirmation by saying: “I release my frustration about people who ignore my emails.”
9. Reclaim Your Own Power:
Believe it or not, complaining puts the power – your power – out into someone else or something else. You feel helpless, frustrated and annoyed after complaining. You feel weak, not strong, and a victim not a winner. Right? So the last way you can channel that energy is by putting back that power back into your own sexy little hands and stop giving it away! Next time a complaint reaches your beautiful lips, tell yourself: I am done giving my power away. Focus on what serves you best and let the energy of complaining turn into a healing energy of acceptance and joy for what is.
If you are just reading this for the first time, it is not too late to join the complaint-free challenge. Start today. Start this minute. Join us on the Facebook page!
One last thing before you go: Grab my FREE confidence book as a sneaky little way of nipping that complaining habit in the bud!