The idea of being abundant and creating abundance is ubiquitous, and yet so many of us have a chronic problem with possibly the biggest abundance blocker there is: Complaining.
Complaining sucks the life out of your relationships and well, the life out of life. Complaining steals your joy, abundance and gratitude. The short-term feel-good we get from complaining hurts us in the long-run.
Many of us came from a family where complaining was a way of life. I did. In my house when I was growing up, there was always someone who didn’t do it right, didn’t get the grade, cried too much, or spilled a beverage. Griping, and being griped at were the way of the day.
I can have entire conversations with my father or my mother that are filled with complaining about everything from the weather, health, aging, the way the palm trees drop their palms into the pool, and, you name it. It’s hard to know how to interrupt it and if I’m not careful I can get carried into it.
We know that negativity is contagious. It provokes negativity in others.
Often times family members who have little else in common bond by complaining about other family members or family friends as a way to create perceived closeness. But closeness based on our complaints about life is not vulnerable, connected or loving. It’s egotistical.
Gossip is typically a form of complaining about others in order to feel good about oneself. Complaining and negativity about someone else is designed to get the people listening on your side and “against” the object of your gossip. That creates a polarity of someone winning and someone else losing, and that is a losing game.
The ego loves to complain because the ego loves to be right. Eckhart Tolle says, “Egoic complaining serves no real purpose because it is not meant to bring about change, it’s meant to strengthen the ego.”
Ask yourself, “Am I saying something to create change?” If not, what is the point of what you are saying?
We also know that complaining can have health implications. First of all, like any other repeated habit, when you complain over and over, it gets easier to complain because your brain gets wired for it. It becomes more automatic. Complaining has been linked to a number of health issues, while the antidote, gratitude has been found to support our well-being.
The Road to No Complaining
I’ve been examining my own habits of complaining and I’ve realized I have many clever ways of complaining.
It is conceivable that 2020 has been complained about more than any other year in history. Complaining is at chronic levels right now because it’s everyone’s favorite thing to bond about. “Oh those damn masks!” “I want to eat out!” “What else could go wrong in 2020?!” It’s daily. It has felt inescapable, and difficult to avoid participating in.
And yet, it doesn’t help make it better and our focus on all the ways we’ve been wronged by 2020 or anything else just makes us feel more miserable.
I invite you to take an inventory of the ways you complain and do the “No-Complaining For 30 Days Challenge” with me. I’m actually doing 100 days and you’re welcome to do it with me. We get to knock this destructive misery making habit. If 2020 gives us that, let us be grateful.
So how do you tend to do it?
Here are many clever and obvious ways people complain:
- Express dislikes or that things/situations are not up to your standards
- Evaluate others as not good enough
- Suspicion, skepticism and distrust of others
- Pretending to comment on others’ behaviors when it is really a veiled judgment
- Self-righteousness, making things and people wrong (or a whole year!)
- Telling stories from a place of positionality (right/wrong)
- Superiority: “I’m here, so you must be over there.” (always indicates feelings of inferiority)
- Focusing on all the things people didn’t do for you or things you did not get (“So-and-so didn’t call and wish me a happy birthday”… etc.)
- Expressing dislikes, dissatisfactions, nit-picking, commenting about what didn’t happen or isn’t okay.
- Being controlling
- Regrets or “If only…”
- Frustration (never lands with people)
- Entitlement, feeling like you are owed something
- Veiled complaints embedded in talking about what you are sad about
- Getting angry and ranting, whining and complaining
- Evaluating other’s choices with judgement
- Letting clerks and service workers know their service is not acceptable and feeling you are owed something
- Being impatient
- Talking about what you don’t have
- Being in your victim self, talking about how life has wronged you.
- Feeling that you are special and then feeling upset that people aren’t seeing your specialness
- Giving to others and getting upset when you are not acknowledged for your giving (which means you are coming from a place of selfishness and needing something from others, rather than generous, open-hearted giving.)
To kick the habit of complaining, we get to be abundant and focus on what is working.
What are we grateful for? What is going well?
Abundant Habits and Ways to Focus on What IS Working
- Being grateful, saying “thank you”
- Praising every good act and every good thing
- Enjoying good things in a demonstrable way, audibly and visibly etc.
- Showing appreciation to others, to yourself, to your animals, to GOD/the divine/the universe
- Being on time
- Paying bills/debts on time
- Being inviting and enrolling
- Joy, grace, kindness, laughter
- Making a gratitude list every day
- Taking care of your body
- Caring for your home and your things
- Celebrating your wins, big and small
- Being Open and Free (not controlled and tight)
- Being loving and generous
- Listening and making space for others to be heard
- Enjoying food, pleasures, beautiful moments
- Good sex and self-pleasuring
- Creativity and self-expression
- Assuming goodwill and the best possible outcomes
- Creating win-wins
- Choosing life, positivity, dreams, expansion
- Lifting up others
- Bringing out the best in yourself and others
Being abundant means we don’t talk about all the time, money, love and things we don’t have. We celebrate what we do have. We give thanks. We generate good feelings. We create ease in our life by being on time, paying on time, and giving our attention to others.
We get to notice the details… the little things that make our day. We get to respond to others graciously and patiently.
We still get to feel our emotions and vent it out when we need to—for a purpose. Sometimes we need to discharge and let it out. Have the pity party. Then we get to get over it, and get back to seeing what’s good in our lives, in our work, in our families and those around us.
Complaining will never get us what we want. Somewhere inside of us the little kid that wants someone to give us something thinks complaining will do the trick. Yet it only pushes people away.
You get to be the best version of yourself every day. Ready to stop complaining with me? It’s not a good look. Let’s be grateful to 2020 for all it gave us—it’s full of blessings. Let’s count ‘em!