Are you a legitimate complainer?

When you complain, you make yourself a victim.  Leave the situation, change the situation, or accept it; all else is madness. –Eckhart Tolle

Why do we complain? I am sure most of us do it (at least sometimes) – focus on the crap, blame others and make the situation worse than what it really is. I have caught myself complaining about a small detail as if it was a life or death issue and that is real madness!

I caught up with some old friends last week and here’s a summary of how it went. It started with the mandatory exchange of pleasantries, the excitement of achievements and new opportunities, family, friends, showbiz gossip, solutions to world problems and even a slot for Trump… It was all sunshine and rainbows until one friend complained about her new boss, who could actually give Cruella De Vil a run for her money to be honest. Not long after, another friend whined about her boarder’s flair for leaving her dishes unwashed, another about her boyfriend’s addiction to all things Star Wars, and soon I was complaining about my own life. What started out as a happy, enthusiastic catch-up turned into a whine fest of epic proportions and it felt crappy.

When we complain, we subconsciously place all the good things in the background and focus on what’s wrong, making things worse than what they really are.

Things to know about complaining

  1. Complaining fuels energy to create something to complain about and it soon becomes an unconscious habit.
  2. Complaining is like throwing all our wisdom and intelligence out the window and for a while acting like a mad person.
  3. Complaining makes us victims of circumstance.
  4. Complaining is like a disease that eats away our ability to be accountable, responsible, loving, happy and successful.
  5. Complaining burdens and drains the listener.
  6. Complaining diminishes our ability to find a solution.

Several years ago,  I was lucky enough to come across Will Bowen’s book, Complaint Free Word.

It is a simple yet profound book that has a clear message. STOP COMPLAINING. I took up the challenge to go 21 days without complaining. I purchased the purple complaint free world bangles and shared them with my family and friends. I was excited and on a roll.

..Oh, my goodness, it was an eye opener. I thought it would be a breeze for me, after all I have done lots of personal development, I have a nice disposition and look at the good side of life.

It took me far more than 21 days to get even close to 21 consecutive days without any type of complaining (yes, even the really tiny ones). Sure, there are times when a legitimate complaint is required but that is not the complaining I am talking about. I am sure you know the difference.

Complaining doesn’t work, it makes the situation worse. Try my 3 step legitimate complaint test.

  1. Is complaining taking you closer to where you want to be?
  2. Is the complaint going to the source (or are you just bitching)?
  3. Can you offer a realistic solution with your complaint?

A “no” answer means you don’t have a legitimate complaint.

The words we use to describe our experiences MATTER – let’s keep them resourceful.