I spent many years of my life complaining. About darn near everything. 3.5 years ago I made changes this is how I stopped complaining (so dang much!)
This is a post I’ve had partially written in my drafts for a while, and I kept moving it about.
It seems rather serendipitous this is where the post fell, as I’ve been feeling crankier than usual this week, so I feel like this scheduling is a hint from the universe 😉
Four years ago (aka – when I was still married) I was a pretty cranky person. I was the person who would constantly groan and roll my eyes at the smallest thing. Things that, truthfully, didn’t matter and didn’t impact me. I also wouldn’t hesitate to voice my displeasure to anyone who would listen, and I ended up pushing away my fair share of friends.
My constant state of negativity and grump absolutely played a factor in my marriage being less than awesome, as well.
Looking back at the person I was, and the person I am today, I sometimes feel like I could be looking at a completely different person.
Over time, and through the help of two extremely patient and loving friends, I was able to see when the grump was creeping in, and I started to make changes and re-frame my thinking around any complaints I might have.
My main motivator for reducing the amount of complaining I did was because I wanted to be a better person. Instead of being the person sitting on the couch grumbling, I wanted to be the person who was a cheerleader for others, and actually enacted change.
How I Stopped Complaining
1 – Realize it’s not all about me
People are generally the centre of their own universe, so when something bad happens, we take things personally, when in reality, they aren’t.
That car that cut you off wasn’t out to get you. The person taking too long at Starbucks isn’t trying to ruin your day. The very probably don’t care that much about you at all.
2 – Remember I don’t know their story
It’s really important to remember we don’t know the full story about anyone.
I’m much more apt to be a bit snappy when I’m feeling anxious, because it’s a defense mechanism and I really don’t always feel like telling a stranger that I’m feeling anxious – and I’m also certain they don’t care.
I try to be compassionate and give people the benefit of the doubt.
3 – Take action (or shut up)
I’m pretty confident everyone has had that one friend (like me, 3.5 years ago) who complained about anything and everything. They don’t try to actually fix the problem, they truly just want to complain about it.
Now, I step back and assess if there’s something I can do to change the situation. For example, I was frustrated with doing laundry because of the location of my washer and dryer. First I looked into whether or not I could move them (turns out I can’t) so then I rearranged the area to make it easier for myself.
I may not have been able to fully solve the problem, but I made it less of an issue, and now it works for me.
If none of those options had been available to me, then I would have made the conscious choice to stop complaining about it.
Now I’m the person who will ask, “What can you do to change this situation?” because instead of annoying my friends by complaining, I now annoy them by attempting to help solve their problems 🙂
[Tweet “3 ways to help tame the complaint monster”]
Bonus: Put myself in a time out
There are some days when I’m just not fit for human interaction. I’ve gotten pretty good at recognizing the days where I need to limit my interaction, and I’ll purposefully not put myself in any situations that could trigger the grump or complaining.
That’s what a cup of tea and Merlin snuggles are for.
What do you do when you find yourself complaining?
For the first time in 3 years, I made the decision to take down a post from my blog. I felt uneasy when I published my post on Tuesday, but that’s to be expected when sharing something big, but when that feeling wouldn’t go away, I knew I needed to sit with it a bit. I don’t think I did a good job of representing myself in the post and while I don’t generally shy away from my opinions, I don’t believe I did a good job in explaining myself. I said in the post I was certain I’d make errors, and I believe that was one. My previous rule was no politicos or current events on my blog, and I do believe straying from that was an error.
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