100 Ways To Live A Better Life – 80. Stop Complaining

Complaining is like an open invitation for troubles. The more you complain about something, the more of that something you invite into your life. Cut it out. You don’t get any real comfort out of complaining, only troubles.

Under the false excuse of “letting it all out” we’re all doing this. We’re all talking about the bad, stupid or unfair stuff in our lives. But the talking in itself won’t make that stuff go away.

On the contrary, the more you complain, the strongest the link between you and that thing. Complaining is in fact a shout for the bad stuff: “Ok, I know you’re happening already, but can you please stay more? So I can talk about you?”

If you complain about something, how do you expect to find the time to fix it? 

How To Stop Complaining

The short version: just stop doing it.

The long version: give up the pleasure you take from listening to yourself when you seek comfort instead of fixing things.

Let’s be honest here: at some point in our lives we all searched for some quick form of relief, for some magic method to stop our suffering (which, by the way, is real, we’re all feeling it). And, at some point, one of those methods was to find solace in simply expressing our frustration, our anger, our powerlessness… In talking about it. In complaining.

For a brief period of time, we did find solace. Talking out loud about something has this strange effect of desacralization, of peeling the seriousness out of it, of making it seem smaller than it is.

That’s why seeing a shrink makes you feel better: just by talking about your problems, you make them look and feel smaller. They won’t go away just by talking about them, right? But you’ll just feel better.

Alas, that’s why you have to keep going to the shrink, also. Because the same thing, talking, won’t fix your problem. It will just alleviate the symptoms, and it will do that only for a while. At a very profound level, talking about your problems will not only miss the real cause of them, but it will actually reinforce them.

Your energy, your activity, your entire life is ultimately built on focus. Where your focus is, your life is. If you keep your focus on your problems, no matter what polarity this focus have (in other words, regardless of your attitude: a positive or a negative focus) will keep your life in the same area: problems.

I had my share of long periods of darkness and unhappiness. There were different reasons for each of these periods, but, as a red string, complaining was popping out in each and every one of them. It didn’t matter if it was public complaining, like finding drinking buddies just to have someone to unload my complaints on, or personal complaining, like circling in dark thoughts, reinforcing my lack of self-esteem, pouring guilt over my wounds or diminishing my successes constantly. But in some form of another, complaining was always present.

Complaining is elusive, it doesn’t work from the front line. To be honest, complaining is never the main source of discomfort, your main problem is always something bigger than that: a loss, a change of personal status, extreme fatigue, you name it. But, you see, complaining acts like a subtle glue that magnifies the sticking power of that problem. It’s a reinforcer. An subroutine for suffering.

The good news is that a subroutine is always easier to fight than a real software bug (that was the geek in me talking). A subroutine can be identified, can be converted into something else, can be entirely rewritten and it will stay fixed for a long time.

A real bug (read: a real life problem, like I said above, losing something or someone, hitting a burn-out, etc) will take more time to fix. More energy.

But if you take out complaining out of the problem, or, in other words, if you solve that subroutine, you’ll have more energy to work on your real life bugs.

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