“Complaining is finding faults. Wisdom is finding a solution.” — Ajahn Braham
I used to complain a lot. It didn’t matter what situation I was in or how good things were in the moment. I’d find something to complain about.
It was a bad quality to have. I knew complaining was an annoying trait, but it was almost like I couldn’t hear myself. I didn’t even realize how often I actually did it.
It was that ingrained within me, like a part of my personality. I think I just didn’t know what else to talk about. What did people say to each other, if not what was bothering them today, or what’d been stressing them out lately?
It’s not like I was a completely unpleasant person — I had friends, luckily, which is how I realized I needed to make a slight personality tweak.
Sometimes the ones closest to us have to wake us up to our own bad habits, make us better people.
At first, of course, my ego was hurt. I didn’t want to hear that I was doing anything wrong. I was a good person. Didn’t people care about my first-world problems and over-inflated, dramatized worries?
No, they didn’t. They don’t. And they shouldn’t have to.
People don’t thrive and grow when they’re focusing on all the negative things they can point out around them. It’s burdensome. Being around someone who does so will be just that: a burden.
Of course, it’s a completely different story to have an actual, serious issue you simply need advice on. We don’t have to be overly-optimistic robots 24/7.
We’re human, and humans cannot always be 100% happy. The point is just to have a more positive outlook and attitude so that when things inevitably don’t go the way you planned today (or in life) you can react less.
As I wrote in a previous post, the more we react to setbacks, the more things that we perceive as negative will actually affect us. In other words, the more energy you give something, the more power it will have.
In the same way, the more energy you give to all the good you see around you, the more grateful you will feel.
It took conscious effort and practice at first, but I was able to gradually mold myself into a more positive and grateful person. Because of that, I like to think people enjoy being around me a lot more.
I still catch myself complaining sometimes, though.
No one is perfect. Everyone has days where they feel like their light has been dulled. Life has a way of doing this to us, and sometimes we just need to feel a little sorry for ourselves.
When you have a day like that, give yourself some compassion and self-care. Go easy. Designate a few hours to wallow a little. Watch your favorite movie/show or listen to a little sad music while you eat some comfort food, and then snap the hell out of it.
As quickly as you slipped into your self-pity party, kick yourself out. You can visit, but you can’t stay there.
Make a list of things you want to work on to feel better about yourself. Make some goals. Go running, do yoga, and meditate daily.
Just in case you don’t believe the whole ‘exercise to feel better’ idea, “Anandamide is a neurotransmitter produced in your brain that temporarily blocks feelings of pain and depression. In relation to exercise, anandamide levels are known to increase during and following exercise,” a Sleuth Journal article explains.
So it’s a great way to motivate yourself. And although it only “temporarily blocks” negative feelings, you’ll still have the momentum going that will make it easier to keep going.
When you’re done working out and making lists, ask yourself something.
How do you want to impact people during your time on this earth? What do you want to be remembered for?
Deep, I know. But sometimes we need a little depth to regain perspective on what really matters, and to understand how small our complaints may realistically be.
People are largely attracted to positive energy. If you want to positively impact people, then live out every action you take and every word you speak with that purpose in mind.
The more you do this, the more it becomes habit. It just takes repetition.
So shine your light in whatever way you can. Don’t drag those around you down, but instead lift them up.
When you begin to see how your energy affects those around you, it’ll be easy to stop yourself from making that next complaint.
“Champions never complain, they are too busy getting better.” — John Wooden