The Toxic Effects of Complaining and My Challenge to YouThe Toxic Effects of Complaining and My Challenge to You
“Instead of complaining that the rosebush is full of thorns,
be happy that the thorn bush has roses.” ~Proverb
Complaining may be the quickest kill-joy there is. When you complain about your situation in life, what you'll get is a lot more to complain about. Why is this? What we bring to our attention becomes our reality. It’s like focusing on white cars. Pretty soon you’ll see white cars all over the place you’ve never really noticed before.
The problem with complaining about anything is that it is hands down the quickest way to pollute your emotional environment with negative energy. Complaining also barricades all the good stuff the universe sends our way.
By the way, I’m not suggesting pretending there’s nothing wrong or falsely acting like a “Polyanna” when a challenge arises. I’m a big fan of acknowledging the truth about a situation and making authentic observations about it. There's a big difference between complaining and making an observation. When you complain, you play the “victim” role. It feeds negative energy to your thoughts, words and actions. When you make a neutral observation, you are still looking at the truth of a situation without the "pity party" or “pot shot” towards another person.
Typically, complaining is merely a conditioned response to the parts of life we don’t like. Most of the time, we have no awareness we're even doing it. Sometimes we even complain about things we have absolutely no control over like the weather, or a traffic jam and wonder why we feel drained by the time we go to bed. It’s also very contagious; it spreads and brings others around you down. I’ve even heard a close friend of mine complain for a good ten minutes about her roommate who never stops complaining.
One of the latest examples of contagious complaining is regarding the economy. We can kvetch to our heart’s content about the current state of the economy of our country or we can look at it from as many angles as possible and change what’s not working starting with our own personal economy at home. The first choice lets us hold a pity party, complete with “poor me” party hats and “blame them” noise-makers. The second choice allows us become pro-active and powerful over our own microcosm. It also gives room for abundance to come into our lives.
We’ve heard the classic question all throughout our lives, “Is the glass half-empty or half-full?” In reality, it’s both at the same time. Some people look at the glass and spin the story of how it’s half-full; other people look at the glass and spin the story of how it’s half-empty. And the truth is, at the end of the day, it’s just a glass of water. We assign the value to it and then either rejoice or complain.
So, it's up to us. If we want to complain, there will always be stuff to complain about. If we want to rejoice, there will always be stuff to rejoice about. The beauty is the choice is ours.
So here’s my personal challenge to you...
Don’t let a single complaint out your mouth for an entire 24-hour period. After you go a whole day, go a second day, and a third. Then maybe try a week. Dr. Gay Hendricks gives excellent suggestions to follow in a 3 part challenge.
Let’s break it down…
Task #1: Discover what you complain about. Be honest and notice how much of the time you're moaning and groaning about something. Even non-verbal complaining counts (the audible sigh).
Task #2: Discover the people you complain to, the audience of your complaining.
You might discover that some of your “friends” are really people who willingly listen to your complaints over and over. I put “friends” in quotes, because the truth is they aren’t friends at all—they are cohorts in the project called “sabotage of your own life.”
Are you willing to commit to a complaint-free life?
If so, move onto the next task…
Task #3: Say the following sentence aloud, from the core of your being: “I now commit to a complaint-free life. Blessings now flow in the parts of my life I used to complain about.”
Say this over again until you really feel it in your body.
After trying this myself (and believe me, it was tough!!!), I discovered that my perspective of my life has improved so radically I don’t feel like complaining about anything anymore. Yes, I still have my challenges, but I want to keep as much positive energy around me as possible, especially when faced with challenges. It’s the only way for me to discover that the challenge is really a blessing in disguise.
“Explain to people that everything they say is an affirmation. Everything they think is an affirmation. Everything! What you want to do is to get control of what you are saying and thinking, so these things bring you good experiences in life rather than rotten experiences.” – Louise Hay