Do you know someone who has a tendency to complain all the time? Do you see that person in the mirror?!
Hey, I’m not judging – I used to be like this, and I admit, I can still descend into this place occasionally, especially when I am in the car… The beauty now is that I know how to snap myself out of it, and I am going to share that with you today.
Complaining drains your energy, and damages your optimism.
When you complain about people or situations, you are really looking for someone else’s agreement to the story. You are seeking to enrol them in the drama of the thing that happened. And actually, all that will prove is that you were right.
Your ego loves to be right.
Righteousness kills relationships, opportunities, and will not help you to step out of your comfort zone to play bigger.
In short, it stops you from listening and closes off your perspective because you are focused solely on confirmation of what you already believe.
Whether you realise it or not, complaining leaves an emotional residue. We often feel guilty afterwards, and this only reinforces your inner critic. To others, we just appear untrustworthy and miserable. If you fight this by saying, “but my friends agree with me”, then consider this – if you are surrounding yourself with these people and this energy, then you are keeping yourself trapped in negativity. You will spiral down this rabbit hole together and have not a lot to show for it at the end.
“When given the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind” – the film, Wonder
The energy that you experience when you are complaining will transfer to other areas of your life too. You may be wondering why it’s never you that gets the promotion, or wins the prize, or gets noticed. Trust me you are getting noticed, it’s just not for the right reasons….
Those last few paragraphs were designed to shock you into reality and make your current habit of complaining, whatever its size, so unpalatable that you want to seek an alternative! There is no benefit whatsoever to complaining!
The antidote to complaining
This exercise was inspired by my daughter one Christmas when on opening 15 or so presents she chose to focus on the one present she wanted that she didn’t get. It brought the whole energy of the day down, and was dismissive of the generosity others had shown. All those images of people less fortunate than us flashed around my head; I wanted her to be grateful for what she had, not miserable about what she believed she didn’t have.
So we cracked open one of the games and I grabbed the timer. Instead of using it to count how many claps (178) or hops (104) she could do in a minute we used it to see how many things we could acknowledge that we were grateful for in that time. The whole family did it and it transformed us from sad and disappointed to unbelievably appreciative, and connected. As a result of that one minute the spirit was lifted for the rest of the Christmas period, and we played that game regularly as a race from that moment on.
It’s amazing how something so simple can shift your emotional state and your energy.
You may not want to carry a salt timer around with you, but you probably wouldn’t be without your phone. Set yourself a timer and just think about all the things that you have and are able to do in your life – you can breathe, you can eat, you have food available, you can move, you can talk, you can read – the bar doesn’t have to be high… In fact, the lower, the more humble the better!
No-one I know wants to be miserable, in fact the target emotion for all of the people in my life, my clients included, is JOY! Sometimes existing habits and patterns of thought get in the way of this.
Use this tool whenever you feel in a slump to speed appreciate everything you already have in your life.
Use it to raise your energy, and you can start to build a pattern of behaviour that will have you feeling less stressed and guilty, and more calm and optimistic about how you look at the world. When you shift your focus onto the positive, more seems possible, and opportunities that you may not have seen before suddenly become apparent.
To your fresh start!
Susie Ramroop is a Leadership and Mindset coach, and mother to her muse, Elise. She works mainly with busy working women to shift their focus from overwhelm and confusion to the beliefs and activities that are actually going to make a difference to their happiness and fulfilment. Her clients regularly attribute their new roles, career paths, personal and working relationships, and even the way they have dealt with cancer diagnoses to their new mindset. You can have one too!
Susie works privately and in small groups, and runs her transformational retreat twice a year. Booking is now open for January so get in touch:
Connect with Susie at www.linkedin.com/in/susie-ramroop-mindset-coach, and sign up for her free guide at www.susieramroop.com/playingsmall
Make sure you share this with friends – there is not a person in my life that this hasn’t helped. They’ll thank you for it (and you won’t have to put up with them moaning any more!!)