It’s embarrassing to admit how many years I spent as a chronic complainer. It started when I was really young. That negative train of thought would get to rolling and before I knew it it was a runaway train. Over the years, it wasn’t a random passing train, I had a whole station full of negative trains of thought. Looking back, I feel really bad for those closest to me. I’ll have to ask them how they put up with me. Those of you who know me for the person I am today might have a hard time believing I was that bad. But I’m not kidding. I constantly complained and disguised it under the term “venting”. I told myself I just had to vent and get it off my chest and then I’d feel better. But that wasn’t the case. If I couldn’t vent to my go-to people, I’d let that train of thought charge on at full speed until I did.
The thing is, even when I did complain to them, I was just digging the hole of powerlessness deeper. As you can imagine, I wasn’t complaining about things that were my fault. I was complaining about situations in my life and problems I had but I shifted the blame elsewhere. I don’t know why it took me so long to realize that complaining just empowered me to feel even more hopeless! Now it’s obvious because if things were always beyond my control and never my fault, then essentially that did make me powerless. The reality is, that wasn’t the case it was just my perception because of my mindset and habit of chronic complaining.
As tempting as it can be to give into that habit of complaining, I want to challenge you to break it. It’s not productive, it doesn’t feel good, and it doesn’t contribute to positive change. I know it’s hard. You don’t have to tell me or sell me. Believe me, I know because I was right there with you! I would have been the first to roll my eyes and click away from this post two paragraphs ago. The thing is, I’ve also had to face facts and accept that venting wasn’t fixing anything. I want to see what happens if you implement a 7-day no complaining policy.
Don’t allow yourself to finish a thought or sentence that has a hint of complaint in it. Don’t even allow yourself to entertain complaints that others make. Complaints are contagious and it’s hard enough to stop that train of thought in your own mind. So when others start to complain, stop them in their tracks and let them know you’re on a 7-day complaint free challenge. You can tell them about it or just leave it at that, do whatever feels most comfortable to you.
You’ll need a place to redirect your thoughts so I encourage you to reroute them to a place of gratitude. You can do this in two ways-
- Polar Opposite Express| think the exact opposite of that complaint you were going to finish and let it lead you down a path of gratitude.
- Gratitude Station| come up with a list of 10 things you’re grateful for. Don’t overcomplicate it, the simpler the better. It’s not what you’re grateful for but the fact you’re rerouting your train of thought to that station that matters. I’ve been grateful for toothpaste before, just saying.
*If you work in a toxic complaining environment, find a way to protect yourself before you go in. Whether it’s music, redirecting the conversation, or focusing on solutions rather than the problem itself, it’s imperative that you find a way to put on a hazmat complaint suit.
Alright, if you’ve made it this far, you might as well join the 7-day complaint free challenge! Comment below or email me and let me know that you’re starting. I want to check in with you in a week and see how it went and how you felt. You’d be surprised, it just might create a shift that can have a huge impact on your life. You won’t know for sure until you try…
Sending lots of love your way and wishing you all that you need to support you in focusing on gratitude over things to complain about.
Former chronic complainer turned Women’s Worthiness Coach