“The weather is so miserable this time of year.”
“I can’t stand Christmas, can’t wait for it to be over.”
“Why are my shoes NEVER where I have left them? Why do people keep tidying things up?”
“Oh great, the road is flooded that’ll add 15 minutes onto my journey now!”
“Oh there isn’t any decaf coffee, I’ll have to do without then, no I don’t like tea either thanks.”
Just five complaints that I have either heard or uttered in the last 24 hours.
I’m prompted to write this because I saw online a Facebook group today that someone had set up, an invitation if you like. To not complain for 40 days. 40. And I instantly loved it. And I am going to join in.
I HATE moaning, in fact, one of the things I say most often it seems at the moment to my overtired child is ‘oh stop MOANING.’ I know, I am moaning now too. And I know I am guilty of unnecessary complaining and moaning but I also know how other people’s moaning really affects me and so my own moaning and complaining in turn must affect others, and of course it mostly affects myself.
The key thing about most complaining, the thing that makes it really draining and actually quite harmful to our wellbeing, is that it’s rarely done from a position of power and it hardly ever changes the situation we are irked by. So it’s quite futile and also reinforces any sense of powerlessness we have.
In some instances a good old rant is, I think, beneficial to mental health, especially if you do it with someone who can be with you when you vent your emotions without taking them on, who doesn’t work to solve the issue immediately and preferably someone who can encourage you to have a laugh about it. At the very least with a rant you get your emotions out, acknowledged and heard. Often that’s very cathartic. So rant away.
I’m also not talking about constructive complaining, where you are dissatisfied with a service, product or person and you make your feelings known in an assertive, positive way with the real purpose of engineering change or finding a resolution.
But this sort of powerless day to day complaining isn’t ranting or venting or positively looking for a resolution. And it’s a very, very easy habit to get into.
Because, let’s face it, the weather is often crap. People can be very irritating/ selfish/ stupid (delete as applicable). Household appliances can be unreliable. Clients and workmates can be self absorbed. or worse. Public transport and cars can let us down. Sometimes the work/income doesn’t flow. Children can be selfish and ungrateful. And so we complain. About shoes, weather, the contents of the fridge. We wearily rail against the government, political parties, ‘endless bureaucracy’. There is on the surface a lot to complain about.
If you recognise yourself in any of this and would like to join in the Facebook group as far as I am aware it’s open to all, so feel free to jump in, or just set your own challenge.
Here are some other things I thought about today that you can do to lessen your need to complain;
1. Be grateful – if you are grateful for your life, you naturally feel better and complain less.
2. Take responsibility – if the thing you want to complain about, or find yourself complaining about is something you can actually have an effect on or actually control, then do it. If it’s not, let it go.
3. Catch yourself complaining and train your mind to find the good in that moment. Sometimes you can actually see something positive in the thing you’re complaining about. As above, it was me complaining about the flooded road but the positives were a. I got to enjoy a new (and very beautiful in places) route to where I was going and b. if the road floods again (which if this weather keeps up it will!) I know a route around it to get to the next village and beyond.
4. Find your happy things and do them – if you realise that you complain a lot, chances are you are not investing enough time and energy in doing the things you love which will ultimately make you feel better, more positive and therefore less likely to complain. For me that’s getting out in nature, reading interesting/ thought provoking books and articles, cooking, writing and doing yoga. For you it will be different. Find those happy things and do them.
5. Notice your complaining triggers and remove them – I find more to complain about when I go online (I know! the irony of blogging about this!). Also, certain people make me more moany, either because they are moany or because they annoy me. Either way, I know some people have to be kept to a minimum. Some people complain more when tired, or stressed. Most people do in fact. Not always easy things to set right but we can always try.
Thank you for reading, I’d love to hear any tips that you have for me as I embark on my 40 days.
PS Today’s photo was taken whilst I was stuck on a bridge over the river waiting for the train to go past and the barriers to go up. I was running late and felt irritated with the delay but then if I hadn’t been delayed like this, I wouldn’t have had 3 minutes or so to drink in this wonderful sky.Back to articles