Why do people complain so much?
My take on a problem that needs addressing but is often overlooked
Everyone goes through a complaining phase. We all must have complained at some point in our lives.
It doesn’t seem something important, let alone writing an article about it.
The truth is complaining makes us mentally weaker and stops us from reaching our potential too.
Potential is a scary word, it can tell you how much you didn’t achieve. It can also flatter you. But what point is having a lot of money if you can’t use it?
Complaining is a coping mechanism
I vividly remember complaining when I lost in something or didn’t have things go my way. Complaining was me formulating excuses to justify it.
For me, I matured when I realized how much control I have over my life.
We make countless decisions every day, unfortunately, some of them feel like they are not in our control.
At a certain point, I realized that complaining had become more of a reflex for me. As soon as things didn’t go my way I would either start complaining or I would make excuses about how unfair it was.
This wasn’t very productive. Of course, if the person on the other side of the table decides to entertain you whining, it makes you what you are saying is right. This makes it even worse.
In some extreme cases, for me at least, I HATED when other people complained. I would consciously stay away from them. Little did I realize, my complaining made me irritating too.
The effects weren’t obvious for people around me. I am more reserved than outgoing and in that case, I don’t generally share my feelings or have a lot to say either. No one who knows me will tell you I complain a lot.
But me spending time with myself definitely suffered. When you complain to yourself, as was the case for me, you become unbearable to yourself. Period.
Complaining out loud HAS to make you unbearable, complaining whilst locked in a room is certainly no different. The only difference is, people, don’t realize it because you control it in front of them.
The one benefit complaining to yourself has, over complaining in front of people is that you will definitely come to a point where you either get your sh*t together or would want to kill yourself every day. Literally. It becomes necessary because you have to be with yourself EVERY DAY! If you become annoying to yourself, it isn’t going to feel good to say the least.
Getting your act together for me meant taking charge of myself and not putting my confidence to the floor if I made a mistake or embarrassed myself. Everything was never going to be perfect, I had to realize that.
It’s hard to stop
I won’t lie, it is hard to stop. I haven’t stopped it completely either. It is still overwhelming sometimes, I must confess.
When you make a conscious effort to not toss your complaints to the room, you hold that in. Holding that in means yelling it (And I do mean yelling it) out in your mind. This only makes you angrier. If you throw it out, at least the issue is divided amongst people you sit with.
You become irritating, that is the cost, though.
Complaining is more like a void that needs to be filled.
You make a mistake and you have to react to it, you just have to. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. What merits good or bad is HOW you react. Everything is essentially based on reacting.
I found that when I figured out I had made a mistake, I had a hole to fill if you will.
Something has to come now. But what worked wonders is that I could control how to fill it.
When I looked back and analyzed why that mistake took place and what I could have done otherwise, it made some progress for me.
It is nowhere near perfect. Hell, I complained yesterday (to myself). I also made an excuse for staying up later than usual. Not optimal.
Realizing you have a margin for error is very important. You can’t be perfect, that is a fact. If you try to become perfect in everything at once, you will feel miserable and improvement will be minuscule.
All you can do is make progress, progress results in more and more effort. But effort is what begins the progress in the first place.
Reacting to mistakes for me was, first to take a breath and tell myself, ‘Don’t go mad, it’s ok.’ This is where the ‘logical’ part of the mind starts working and not the spontaneous ‘punch the wall and scream’ mind.
Then I critically think about it whilst knowing there is a fine line that need not be crossed and that’s it!
Obviously, this is not always the case but I am told I can control emotion better than most. That certainly took effort.
Several times I remember feeling emotion build up in my belly. The need to let it out is huge, but when you manage to keep it in and not do something you were bound to regret, you feel happier and more productive, maybe get even better in that particular thing.
Address yourself as you would to a friend when they make a mistake.
You can’t get angry when you want to logically help someone. It is counter-productive. You have to be calm and establish reason. You have to make them understand that first, what you have to say will genuinely help them and second, it is important for them.
Take charge of your life
It is empowering and powerful to know everything in your life is under your control, as it should. The thing is, it also means everything you have messed up was because of you.
It can be looked at from any perspective but the better one is the first one. It means you can do whatever you want to. What else do you need?
There most certainly are things totally out of our control but the fact is they only shape our lives when we react to them. This reaction is what we must control.
This is one of my favorite quotes and I don’t mind throwing it out whenever I have the chance.
Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.
-Charles R. Swindoll
It couldn’t be summed up any better than this.
Be responsible for your mistakes, don’t let them dictate how you perceive things, and strive to make yourself better every day.
To sum it up
I like to think that growth mentally really, truly occurs when we realize how much we can control. That allows us to achieve what we want to achieve and establish more confidence in our abilities.
I also like to think that when we complain we are tossing some of that control away. How the other person reacts to our complaint may shape how we respond again.
When we throw away control of our life, like candy, we become more and more discontented and miserable. The good thing is, to take that control back, it only takes a second. You just have to make a conscious decision and stick by it.