There is a time and a place for complaining. Sometimes when we complain to a friend they may have just the right advice to help us out of a jam. At other times complaining can effect change in an organisation. It’s when it becomes habitual that it becomes a problem.
Some years ago I was having a conversation with a work colleague called Jenny and when I finished talking she gave me the most exasperated look, rolled her eyes and told me that I was a whiner and should stop complaining. She got up and walked away. I was so shocked and hurt, I felt angry and humiliated. I thought she was a total bitch!
A few years later I was having a conversation with a friend when all of a sudden this memory popped into my mind. I realised that I had just been complaining. I asked my friend if she thought I complained too much and her response went something like this; “um …. no, not really … well maybe sometimes.” I smiled at her reluctance to hurt my feelings but her response got me thinking.
I started paying attention to my inner thoughts and I had to admit what Jenny said was true, I did complain a lot. At this point I still felt justified in my complaints but I also started to notice in my circle of friends and colleagues who complained and who didn’t. I realised that I preferred the company of the non-complainers. So I had a new mission – stop complaining. Easier said than done, it’s so unconscious.
It’s taken me many years to overcome this habit. There was no magic technique, I worked on it bit by bit, year by year. As often as I could, when I noticed my mind complaining I looked for a way to change my perspective. Over time I complained less and less. But it didn’t go away completely, the urge to complain is still there, especially when I’m stressed but I rarely fall for it anymore. I just don’t like the way it makes me feel, so I don’t do it.
So I just want to say, thank you Jenny (wherever you are) for having the courage to confront me, no-one else ever did. Even though it didn’t feel like it at the time you did me a huge favour. I may never have realised this for myself if you hadn’t brought it to my attention.
May all beings be appreciated!
Photo Credit: Ryan Moreno via Unsplash