This week, I want to talk about complaining, why we do it, and how to stop it.
What Is Complaining? Why Do We Do It?
“When you complain, you make yourself a victim. Leave the situation, change the situation, or accept it. All else is madness.” Eckhart Tolle
Complaining is the expression of dissatisfaction or annoyance about something. While complaining can be useful in releasing stress, more often than not, people groan to experience emotional highs or to avoid actively resolving issues.
For example, instead of working to solve a problem, individuals will bitch to feel a false sense of accomplishment. Instead of a confronting a disrespectful coworker, we will complain about their behavior to others. Instead of acknowledging the corruption of our political system and demanding real change, we will complain about individualism. Instead of going to the gym and improving our physical strength, we will fault advertisement belittling our figures.
People complain when they want to avoid action by focusing on what they can’t control. Then, they place their disappointment and anger toward an object of contempt. People will complain about society, institutions, other people, freedom, and so on instead of seeking solutions within their sphere of power and influence.
Why Isn’t Complaining Good For You, Your Community, Or Your Future?
- Complaining is not the same as action – Whining about an issue does not resolve the issue. Our words do not shape reality; only our efforts can.
- Complaining will become a habit – When complaining is a habit, the individual will avoid action. When you avoid acting to resolve issues, your problems will accumulate and ultimately bury you. You will feel powerless as you seek the emotional high of griping instead of the rigorous process of self-improvement.
- Complaining makes you ungrateful – When you grumble, you focus on what is wrong, not on what is right or solvable. Complainers are always ungrateful and entitled. Ungrateful and entitled people are petty, irritating, weak-willed, and passive. If you value your life, you don’t want to be any of these things.
- Complaining makes you miserable – Nobody likes a whiner. Complainers are consistently negative and only see the worst in everything. Negativity breeds sadness, hopelessness, and passivity; all character traits which strong, reliable, and mature people avoid.
- Complaining feeds into emotional highs – We moan to feel the rush of “doing something.” Griping allows you to acknowledge a problem without having to solve it. The more you fret, the more you feel you are contributing. This will give you a rush, and you’ll want to keep complaining. However, such highs rob you of your willpower, energy, and emotional stability. You’ll become less stable, reliable, and capable as you express annoyance instead of developing the skills necessary to resolve issues.
How Do I Stop Complaining? Become An Individual By Excelling At Self-Improvement
“Nothing ever comes to one, that is worth having, except as a result of hard work.” – Booker T. Washington
Fretting doesn’t serve your long-term interests. Therefore, it is crucial you learn how to decrease your complaining, so you can free up the resources you need to dominate problems and deliver solutions.
Today, I want to cover the seven techniques I use to decrease my whining. The less I gripe and moan, the more I can take action and accomplish the goals I set for myself. Additionally, when I complain less, I’m more fun to be around and less of a burden to my friends, family, and coworkers.
Let’s get started.
1. The Less Entangled You Are In The World, The Better Off You Are
One of the most significant sources of griping comes from focusing on external problems you have no direct control over. You don’t have power over the future of a nation, the behaviors of others, the inherent corruption of institutions, the weather, and other aspects of life. Thus, you need to let go of obsessing over these things.
Through the years, I’ve learned to accept the realities of traffic. There are solutions to transportation, but none I could implement on my own. Therefore, my best solution is to detach emotionally from the frustrating realities of traffic. Through my detachment, I stop whining.
As always, seek to consume less media as well as delete social media accounts, if you can. The less focused you are on society and the masses, the less you will complain about the incompetence and destructiveness of the collective.
The world is objective, large, complex, and layered. The issues of the planet are outside of your immediate domain. Solve problems where you can. Always zero in on matters under your direct control and influence. The more energy you put into what you can control, the less you’ll have to grumble about.
2. Live Your Best Life, And You’ll Be Too Busy Being Great To Find Time To Complain
“Few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him, and to let him know that you trust him.” – Booker T. Washington
If you want to stop whining, then you need to dedicate yourself towards personal growth and development. Many people complain because they feel static and trapped. When we break free from our laziness as well as accomplish our goals and focus on greatness, we will excel more and bitch less.
A few examples: if you criticize your weight, you can resolve the problem by going to the gym. If you lament your lack of money, you can create a budget and practice frugality. If you complain about backstabbing friends, you can choose not to associate with them. In each situation, you have a problem. If you practice better behavior and resolve to live a more vibrant life, you can slowly but surely resolve each issue. Your resolutions will reduce your complaining.
We grumble because we feel frustrated as well as a lack of control. Therefore, set goals for your life and create game plans to resolve issues which bother you. The more you exert your will towards self-improvement, the less you’ll have to whine about as you address problems which disturb your peace of mind.
3. Eliminate Your Expectations; The World Will Disappoint You
“The only thing complaining does is convince other people that you are not in control.”
For me, anger and disappointment have always come from having expectations which were not fulfilled. I expected people to act rationally or for an event to go perfectly. However, when I let go of my expectations, I became less annoyed and complained significantly less.
Let go of the world. People will not be ration, events will not go the way you planned, and you will not always earn what you worked for. The world is an unfair place. However, your strength of character will enable you to weather the unfairness and climb to the top.
People are not perfect, and they will let you down. However, you can be the hero of your own story by embracing personal responsibility and eliminating your expectations of others.
4. Complain less by taking better care of yourself and your environment
Complaining comes from a lack of control as well as a frustration with the world. However, if you take care of your physical and mental health, you’ll feel empowered. Your attitude will improve, and it’ll become harder to moan.
The healthier you are and the cleaner your environment, the better you’ll feel. It’s harder to grumble when you’re in shape, feel healthy, and have a beautiful, clean home. At the very least, you can reflect on these things when you feel the urge to complain.
Therefore, start doing pushups, creating meal plans, and getting some more sleep. Make an effort to keep your areas clean by focusing on one room at a time and scheduling cleaning days for your home. When you control your body and environment, you’ll feel less inclined to complain.
5. Be Grateful To Eliminate Your Complaining and Entitlement
“Someone else is happy with less than what you have.” Anonymous
I read to build my gratitude. I become more grateful of the times I live in when I explore the past and the horrors others had to go through. Yes, we have not reached utopia. However, reading the works of Booker T. Washington, Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Ann Jacobs shows me many, many aspects of life such as technology, culture, and relations between different groups have improved dramatically.
Such reflections make complainer harder. Can I really get worked up over someone cutting me off in traffic when I live in a time of advanced medicine? Can I really be bothered by having to go grocery shopping in a country where food and clean water are available and plentiful? Can I really complain about my job when I work in an air-conditioned office and receive a paycheck, unlike my ancestors?
The goal isn’t to become apathetic. The goal is to avoid complaining about every little thing. Gratitude helps you quiet down and focus on what’s important. Things may be bad, but I need to be realistic about how bad they are as well as my emotional response to difficulties.
6. Track your complaints. There is power in keeping stock of your problems
“Happiness comes a lot easier when you stop complaining about your problems and you start being grateful for all the problems you don’t have.”
Another technique I’ve utilized is tracking my complaints. When I have a complaint, whether out loud or in my head, I try to write it down. By the end of the day, I realize I have a long list of complaints. Inversely, I discover I have a long list of moments where I failed to be grateful, was emotionally volatile, and wasted my energy and time bitching instead of doing.
Additionally, I would look over my list and see the mountains of problems I could directly solve. When I fussed about my small frame, I started going to the gym. When I saw a complaint about wasting money eating out, I crafted a meal plan. When I saw a complaint about watching too many YouTube videos, I put a block on my computer.
By tracking your problems, you’ll have a better understanding of your mindset and sense of self. You’ll be more self-aware, and this self-awareness can help you with resolving issues in the future.
7. Accept your occasional moments of complaints and ingratitude
Despite my long list of techniques to stop you from whining, I believe grumbling can serve a purpose. Complaining can release stress, help us better determine our next course of action, and can help us identify critical issues.
However, complaining can become a crutch and a bad habit. Unfortunately, I don’t know where the line is, but I can tell you the techniques above have worked for me. There are some places where I still complain, such as traffic, but I no longer fuss about my health, my productivity, or my future. Because I’ve chosen to become an individual and become personally responsible for my actions, I no longer complain about what is within my control.
- Which suggestions do you struggle with the most? Which technique is most comfortable for you to implement? Why?
- What was the last thing you complained about? How did you feel? Would you still complain about it now?
- Make of list of things you usually complain about. What is in your control? What isn’t?
- Never Complain; Never Explain by Art of Manliness
- Effectively Stop Complaining in 7 Easy Steps by Katherine Eion
- How to Stop Complaining by Robert Taibbi
- 10 Ways to Complain Less (and Be Happier) by Lauren Stewart
Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.
*Image credit to Unsplash.