I am wife, coach, author and mother to three girls… I am also a recovered complainer!
I had the pleasure of being asked to write an article about it for Women On The Fence Blog by Erica Diamond, the Leading Women’s Expert: Helping Women GET OFF THE FENCE and THRIVE in Life, Career and Motherhood.
Like many women today, I have a very full, busy, and hectic life. We have all seen the commercials and the movies that glamorize the work/mom juggle. But the struggle is real. On the outside, I had a happy life, but deep inside I was resisting the daily grind and it was draining me. My reaction to the stress was to complain and moan everyday about everything that was getting in my way. Eventually I set out to change my response and react differently. I challenged myself to quit complaining.
How it began
It all started one regular night. After a long day juggling all of my different responsibilities, I crashed into bed feeling drained and empty. I felt like I just had one of those “terrible, horrible, very bad days,” except I quickly realized it was actually just a normal day in my life. Nothing terrible had happened, and I knew I would have many more of those normal days in the coming weeks, months, and even years. How could I live my life without feeling so overwhelmed? How could I learn to enjoy this life that I had so many reasons to be grateful for?
I realized that what was draining me was all the energy I spent resisting and complaining about what was happening to me, whether it was the spilled milk on the floor, the never-ending amount of bills in my mailbox or this fear that I would never be able to receive the support that I needed from my husband.
I began to wonder if I would ever make it through these so called normal days without feeling irritated and overwhelmed. I was wasting so much energy resisting my reality.
I will never forget the day I decided that something had to change and that thing was my attitude. MY OUTLOOK.
I decided to quit complaining!
Did you know that the average person complains anywhere from 15 to 30 times in a single day? Neither did I before I started my journey into 21 days without complaining. Just imagine it, going a full day without uttering a single complaint; not focusing on the negative, concentrating on improving what is not working and being grateful for the beautiful things already around you.
Could you do it?
If you’re thinking how hard it might be, here are 5 GOOD REASONS TO QUIT COMPLAINING NOW:
1. Misery Loves Company
The age-old saying is true – when you’re a complainer, you’re inviting others to do the same. Soon, you’ll be surrounded by a bunch of complainers and guess what? People are competitive, they want to be the best, and that includes being the best at complaining.
On the contrary, when you quit complaining and stop focusing on the negative, people will start to do the same. Be the leader and inspire those around you to follow in your footsteps– doesn’t that sound like such a better environment to be in?
3. You Become More Mindful
Mindfulness is a practice from which everyone could benefit. Being mindful of not complaining and adjusting your outlook to a more positive one is something that takes practice, but has significant benefits when practiced daily.
Becoming more mindful about not complaining can help rewire your brain to become more positive naturally. A great tool that I used was the bracelet method. Start with a bracelet on one wrist, and the goal is to keep it on that same wrist for 21 consecutive days. If you complain, switch the bracelet to the other wrist and count how many wrist changes you make. You’d be surprised how helpful it is to have a physical reminder to help you be mindful about your complaining.
2. It Helps You Take Control of Your Life
You are the only person in control of your life. Every day you get to control your thoughts, your mindset, your actions, and consequently your reality. Quit wasting your time by sitting around and complaining about what is going on around you – instead, take control and fix it.
If every morning the kids drive you nuts, change your routine (the one you have is obviously not working!) If you despise your job, start the process of looking for a new one. When you are stuck in a rut, the only way to get out of it is to act, so quit complaining and get started. No action is irrelevant if it’s pushing you, even slowly, in the right direction. Sometimes we just need simple tweaks.
If you’ve ever heard of the “snowball” effect, here is where it would be great to start implementing it in your life. Start small, make one small positive change and you’ll notice a shift. From there, it’s like a snowball, you’ll be inspired and motivated along the way to make more and more changes that ignite your overall happiness, naturally shifting your mindset and reducing the need for you to complain.
4. You Find What Makes You Happy
When you quit complaining, you get the chance to celebrate the things that are going well in your life.
Did you have a crappy day at work? How happy were you to come home to your family afterward? Did you complain about having to go to the gym? How great did that workout feel once you accomplished all of your sweaty goals for the day?
Catch my drift? Complaining takes up A LOT of time and space that you could use focusing on the positive, like recognizing and giving thanks for the things that are working, and that you are grateful for. Gratitude is the attitude: the studies are endless on the link between gratitude and increased happiness.
5. Your Communication Skills Improve Drastically
When you decide to take an active approach to stop your habit of complaining, you’ll quickly find that you need to be very direct (yet empathetic) and impeccable with your word.
When something is bothering you, instead of sitting on it and letting it stir, talk about it immediately. To get your message across, it’s best to speak to whoever has power to improve the situation, avoid exaggerating (and turning the problem into drama) and most of all, resist the urge to point fingers.
It’s not an easy task but it will change everything. I know, because it did for me.
Christine Lewicki is a Bestselling Author, Speaker & Coach. She is committed to helping people quit complaining and become entrepreneurs of their lives. Download your FREE “I quit complaining” starter kit, visit her on Instagram and on Facebook, for inspiration and tips to help you fully live the life you CHOOSE!