My Mom used to tell me, “don’t come to me with a problem unless you are prepared to find a solution.”
I internalized that message and to this day I’m proud of my problem-solving skills. This gets me into trouble when I am around people who just want to vent. They bring up a problem, so I assume they are ready to start looking for a solution and begin to make suggestions. Sometimes they react badly, “I wasn’t looking for advice!” they tell me.
I guess I come across as bossy, or as a know-it-all sometimes. I have even been called “holier than thou” (that’s my favorite, it has such an air of importance!). When I meet resistance, I usually back off and apologize and beat myself up about it later…but I’m starting to think that maybe I shouldn’t feel bad about it. Maybe people need to quit their bitching and start looking for solutions!
In the Psychology Today article The Squeaky Wheel the author discusses the harmful effects of ineffective complaining:
How Complaining Ineffectively Harms Our Mental Health
Take a moment to consider how many things you complain about in a given day. The weather, public transportation and traffic, your spouse, your kids, your friends, your boss, the movie you just saw and hated, the meal that arrived cold in the restaurant, the sandwich shop that got your order wrong, the elevator that took too long, the reality television show that booted off your favorite contestant, and the list goes on and on.
When we have so many dissatisfactions and frustrations, yet believe we’re powerless to do much about them or to get the results we want, we are left feeling helpless, hopeless, victimized, and bad about ourselves. Obviously, one such incident won’t harm our mental health, but we have so many complaints, this scenario happens many times a day. This accumulation of frustration and helplessness can add up over time and impact our mood, our self-esteem, and even our general mental health.
So the cycle basically looks like this: complain–> feel victimized–> complain some more –> feel helpless –> keep complaing
It’s a vicious cycle!
I am as guilty of pointless whining as anyone and I’d like to let it go!
Instead of complaining about what I don’t have or how things are going wrong, I want to try being grateful for what’s going right instead! Gratitude is a powerful healing energy!
After all, when I focus on what I am grateful for my life looks really awesome!
Venting is a necessary thing, but needless complaining just isn’t healthy. I think one way to deal with urge to complain is to stop and take a deep breath. Meditation, even brief intervals of sitting quietly and breathing, can do wonders for your mental, emotional and physical well being. It isn’t good to bottle our negative emotions, but meditation is a healthier way to process our frustrations than complaining any day of the week!
If you don’t believe that you will feel better if you stop complaining, why not try accepting my weekend challenge? Here it is, are you ready?
I challenge all of us to abstain from complaining for the entire weekend.
That means: no whining, bitching or moaning until Monday, people! I will keep a journal of my experiences and let you know how it goes. I have a feeling it will be challenging, but ultimately fulfilling! I am looking forward to a weekend full of joy, gratitude and peace-of-mind!
I hope you will accept my weekend challenge and let me know how it goes in the comment section! Good luck abstaining from complaining, or as my Mom also used to say, “Quit ya bitchin’!” Just for a few days anyway! 😉