How Complaining Empowered Me

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-

  1. 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.
  2. 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…

niki@nikimeadows.com

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.
Niki Meadows
Former chronic complainer turned Women’s Worthiness Coach

19 Replies to “How Complaining Empowered Me”

  1. I’ve been there! I started to notice that patter of behavior in other people, which led me to realize I was doing it myself.
    I’d like to think myself as a complain-free person now. I accept and own my mistakes and choices.
    Great post again, Niki! Always with thought provoking posts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I honestly don’t know how people put up with me before. I’m glad that when I complain now it’s generally a one-time complaint on the matter and then I either accept it or change it. It’s definitely not the marathon it used to be. I’m so glad you enjoyed this post, thanks for taking the time to share ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I actually started doing this non-complaining thing about a year ago. Not that I complained a whole lot before that, but I wanted to see what would happen if I didn’t become involved in either trying to fix things by complaining or joining in on complaints.
    It was quite revolutionary. Of course, I added one more thing to it, which was listening to that Inner Voice as to how to deal with things.
    I actually got more of the positive change I wanted to see by going this route. It wasn’t me doing it either. It fell into place as if by the hand of a Higher Power. I do believe it was a Higher Power actually.
    it really is an empowered way to approach life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s awesome! It’s definitely a better way to go through life. Complaining is really draining on the person doing it and the people subjected to it. I’m so glad you took it deeper and listened to that inner voice, so much wisdom has been revealed I’m sure. Thanks for taking the time to share! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent post Niki. I’ve learned it tough way too. I was on a complaining mode all the time for last few years after I had to quit my job for my kids. But I learned it hard way after a lot if introspection that all I was doing was attracting negativity. I consciously try to complain less now but still working on it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a practice. I tell myself every day I’m offered many opportunities to practice the things I’m working on. I think it’s good to complain and walk away from it but it’s problematic when we live there. Keep practicing! I’m glad you enjoyed this post, thanks for taking the time to share your experience. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey Niki, thanks for this! This got me thinking about a middle school project I had to do where I couldn’t complain, it was really hard and I didn’t realize how much we don’t even realize it when we do complain even about the most minimal things.

    I work in an environment where the complaining really used to be so contagious, everyone had a morning huddle about everything they disliked about the position. Those days went by so slowly, and I began to dread coming in.

    I made a choice a few weeks ago to just come in, wear my headphones and not to let the negative energy rub off on me, because it was hindering my performance and my room to grow. Now, I just pay it no mind and get through my day in peace. When others get to complaining, I simply don’t want to talk about that and it works! It’s even rubbed off on them, thank God. I told myself to be grateful that I even have a job, and the days have been flying by ever since!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s an awesome testament to the power of leaning into gratitude instead of complaining! I’m so glad that it rubbed off on others as well. I can only imagine it’s helping to make their day a little better as well. Thank you so much for taking the time to share. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow! I realized that about myself and had to change my environment, people I surrounded myself with and my thoughts. It’s made such a big difference. I’m not in a perfect place but healthy place emotionally and pshycologicaly! What a difderence. Really appreciate this post very much!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you became aware of it and made steps to change it. Once I realized how toxic complaining was I had to remove it from my life starting with my own thoughts. It’s amazing how much of an impact that had on my life! I’m so glad to hear you’re in a better place. Just remember, there’s no such thing as perfect, you’re in a healthy place and that’s crucial! Thank you so much for sharing your experience ❤

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