Complaining: a habit we need to get clear on

Have you ever noticed how people love to indulge in the pastime of complaining?


The government, the tax system, criminals, bad sit-coms, the noisy neighbours, we complain about everything really. And what is complaining anyway? Well, it’s deciding that things aren’t right because they’re not the way we want them to be.


How inconvenient.


Complaining betrays a deep, driven need to control things around us. It also cuts us off from gratitude. When I’m complaining that the juice I’m drinking isn’t nice I’m not in gratitude for the fact that I have fresh water to drink every day. Many people die from starvation and malnutrition each year. I temporarily forget this by putting a personal want first. I see the lack and not the plenty. Do this often enough and we wire our brains to see deficiency in everything. By complaining we drain the sap out of life


And it’s when we feel justified about our complaining that the real danger arises. If we have a genuine grievance we give ourselves permission to moan. We decide it’s ok to complain as much as we want. After all, we’re the injured ones.


How dare they? 


I know people get heated up on this topic. Can’t let people get away with bad service they say. Don’t be a doormat they say. What about assertiveness? Shouldn’t we be setting our boundaries? My word!


What am I to do, they cry? If someone serves me squid (which I hate) instead of cottage pie do I just eat it and say nothing. Smile politely at the waitress when she asks me if I’m enjoying my meal.


Well, no, of course not. If a meal in a restaurant is substandard, politely return it. When work you paid for is not done properly bring it to the appropriate person’s attention, and do this promptly.  Find someone who can do the job properly and tell the other guy you won’t be hiring him again.


And then drop it. Don’t carry it around as a nag, nag in your head.


Complaining is not actually the same as standing up for yourself. We all need to do that. In fact, very often it’s people who don’t (or can’t) stand up for themselves that spend the most time complaining about how bad things are to whomever listens. And of course you never have to put up with rude or abusive behaviour. When that happens remove yourself from the scene.


I’m talking more about when we’re in a constant mode of undervaluing everything. We become the critic, the cynic, the invalidator. It can be quite unconscious really.


Now here’s the real kicker. Every time you complain about something you’re creating more of that! For yourself of course, not for the rest of us.


How come?


Because you’re obviously focusing on the thing you’re complaining about. And as you know what you hold in focus will show up in your life.


Well, if I’m justified? Look what they did to me!


Ok. Complain. Same thing. You get what you put out.


Now if you can drop the need to complain then you change your circumstances in life. You will suddenly find you get better service, things start working for you. It’s like magic, but it’s not. What’s happening is you’re sending a new message to the universe. And the universe responds in kind. Next time a disaster happens you’ll be in another part of town.


Of course we all want to see justice in the world, but if we’re focussing on injustice what will happen? We create more of that. Mother Teresa once said ‘I will not go to an anti war rally, when you have a pro peace rally call me’. See the difference? It doesn’t mean we ignore injustice. Quite the contrary. We do our best to alleviate suffering.  The irony is we can do more in that area if we spend less time obsessing about what we don’t have, or how things aren’t going the way we want them to.


As a society we are insanely addicted to being right. And complaining is a way of trying to be right. We complain. We get to be right but we get to suffer.


Deliberately look for the good in everything. There’s a lot more of it than you might realise. And as soon as you start to look a lot of good will start showing up in your life.


Now I wonder how did that happen?

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