I’m a complainer. As much as I hate to admit it, it’s true. Whenever people ask me how I am or how it’s going, I tend to respond, “I’m hanging in there!” or “Oh, it’s going!” I’d like to say I don’t know why I respond as such, but I do. It’s because when I say those things, more often than not, people will ask me what’s going on. It gives me the chance to let everything out.
Of course, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with complaining every once in a while…but I’m a little biased to that statement! However, the real problem with chronic complaining is what it leads to…a life of negativity.
When I look back on my life, the darkest times often were the ones where I found myself complaining the most, which really isn’t all that surprising. When we only focus on what’s going wrong in our lives, how could we ever expect to be happy?
I’m also a firm believer in the fact that we attract the kind of people we portray. Negative people attract other negative people, and happy people attract other happy people. Why would a happy person want to listen to me complain all the time? They wouldn’t! They would hate that just as much as the negative person would hate listening to someone talk about how great their life is.
I don’t think I’m alone in this because it’s also a fact that it’s a lot easier for people to identify what’s going wrong in their lives than what’s going right…and that’s because what we consider to be inherently bad things are the things that cause us to feel the most painful and scaring emotions.
But the hard truth is that there’s always going to be something that could be going better in our lives. Even if we’re making $100k/year, we could be making $200k. Even if we purchase a new car, chances are we had to take out a loan. Even if we get accepted to the college of our dreams, we still have to pay for it. Even if we get a promotion, we’ll still have to work harder.
Well crap David, that’s upsetting.
Trust me, I know!
The truth is that’s simply an example of a negative mindset…of a complainer’s mindset. It’s the mindset that I’ve lived by much of my life, and maybe the one some of you have too. It’s disheartening.
But we don’t have to live this way. We don’t have to live the life of a perpetual complainer. We can shift our perspective and become the happy person that all of us desire to be. After all, isn’t it true that most of us spend our whole lives chasing happiness?
I’ve learned that the life of a complainer can be fixed by changing the way I look at my stressors. Instead of viewing them as bad or stress-inducing, I need to look at them as blessings. I needed to look at them as opportunities.
For example, I’m currently directing nutritional analysis for a research study. Instead of looking at it as countless hours inputting data and coaching people, I can view it as an opportunity to help 50 girls live a healthier life for years to come. Instead of looking at grad applications as a time-consuming burden, I can look at it as what it actually is…a blessing that not many people get to experience in life. It’s an opportunity for me to learn how to impact others on a deeper level. It’s an opportunity for me to inspire change.
Your promotion will surely come with more work, but it’s an opportunity for you to drive change in the company. It’s an opportunity for you to learn new skills. It’s a blessing that you’ll probably be getting a raise and can now take your family on vacation. It’s a blessing that you have a job in the first place!
Shifting our mindset is one of the most difficult things to do. It’s why people fail when they try to take up the gym as a new hobby or begin a new diet. It’s why I complain instead of giving thanks. But where many of us go wrong is biting off more than we can chew. We set unrealistic expectations and set ourselves up to fail.
Take a baby for example. Does a baby start out life with the ultimate goal of walking? Of course not! They start out by learning cognitive skills and practicing their dexterity. Once those skills are up to par, they take baby steps! They walk a step and fall. They get back up and repeat. And they do it over and over until one day they can walk across the room! They practice by taking it one step at a time, and that’s how we need to approach most situations in life.
So recognize that it’s a journey. When we find ourselves starting to complain, we need to recognize it and cut ourselves off…
“Hi David! How are you?” “Hanging in…I’m good. I just got a new internship and it’s a lot of work, but it’s given me the opportunity to drive effective change in my students’ lives.”
Again, it’s not going to be easy, but nothing is in life. In fact, the most rewarding things are often the ones we have to work the hardest for. But the key is to start and to recognize that it’s a journey.
So ask yourself today, how do I respond to people when they ask me how I am? What do I complain about the most? How can I take a baby step to shift my perspective about it? What’s one positive thing that could come out of this stressor?
I hope you all enjoyed this post! It feels great to get back into writing. I really do appreciate you all giving me the chance to take a little time off. I’m beginning to understand how important it is to realize that I can’t do everything all the time. Thank you for being the best readers ever!
As always, don’t forget to like, comment, and share! I’ll talk to you next week 🙂
“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18