When I first wrote about wanting to complain less, it seemed so simple. I just had to pay a bit more attention to what I was saying, making sure I wasn’t talking unkind about someone or something. Well, it wasn’t that easy …
I got confused about whether I was complaining or not. Is “I’m tired” a complain or a fact? Is yelling at someone who almost hit you with his car rude or justified? When is something a complain and when is it not?
So I decided to set some ground rules for myself. Here I will show you my rules, but if you want to change them around to suit your attempt to complain less, you should do that.
You’re complaining when:
- When you say something bad about someone
- When you say something bad about something
- When you curse
- When you say something negative without indicating a next step to fix the problem
Thinking about what you’re saying is forcing you to reword certain thinks. And that’s a good thing, because it will be forcing more awareness to your thinking.
Just an example:
Negative: “I went to the supermarket this afternoon and those damn kids were running all over the place and some a**hole drove his cart against my ankles!”
Positive: “I went to the supermarket this afternoon and it was very crowded. Next time I’ll be going there at another time to avoid the crowd.”
If you feel like your life is filled with negative stuff, the first step to complaining less might be changing some things around:
How much time have you spend this week on something you enjoy? Yes, life is busy and there are certain obligations. But when you start feeling you’re no longer the one living your life it’s time to make a change. Think about some of the things you (used to) enjoy or pick something up you think you might enjoy. It doesn’t has to be big and time-absorbing. If you like running, it doesn’t mean you have to go every day if you don’t have the time to do so. But it is important to make at least a bit of time for the things that you like and that will relax you. You need something to recharge from everyday life. So even if you’re going for a run for 30 minutes a week, it’s still better than not going at all.
If you have been setting some personal goals and you haven’t been achieving them, how come? Think about if your goals are appropriate for your lifestyle. If you have 3 children, a day job and are a part multiply organisations, wanting to climb the Mount Everest, go on a world trip, write a book might be a little bit too much. It might help you to break your goals into smaller pieces. Go wall climbing, take a camping trip in your own country, write a short story. I don’t say you shouldn’t be reaching for the bigger goals, but not being able to reach them right away might demotivate you. By starting of with some smaller goals, goals that are a bit easier to achieve, you will motivate yourself to keep going.
How many negative things have you been turning into positive ones this week? Of course, there are certain things in life that are not in your power to change around 360 degrees. But you can start with looking at the things you can change right away. Did a co-worker got mad at you for no reason? Talk to him/her what’s really going on. Is your spouse a bit down lately, causing some friction? Go out on a date to relax and enjoy each others company again. Are you in over your head at school, can’t see the forest for the trees anymore? Go talk with you student counselor about what’s going on and if you can get some help with planning your work.
Try to find joy in the little things in life. When you start paying more attention to those small things, life won’t always seem so heavy anymore. Yes, there still will be diseases, people are still dying, there are still wars going on. And the solution is not to look away, but try the best you can to turn the negative into the positive. Don’t feel like you’re failing when you’re feeling a bit negative for a while. It’s a part of life and there should be room for some negative feelings as well. Negative feelings doesn’t have to be bad. When you’re feeling sad and empty because someone you dearly love just passed away, let those feelings be. When you’re feeling destroyed because you just found out you are very ill, let those feelings be. You have the right to have those negative feelings! They will help you cope with the situation. Negative feelings are not a bad thing, as long as they won’t start to control your life, not giving you room for a bit of sunshine after a while.
– Anne Bronte