“Be a light unto the darkness and curse it not”
– Neale Donald Walsch
“Discontent, blaming, complaining, self-pity cannot serve as a foundation for a good future, no matter how much effort you make.”
– Eckhart Tolle
Ok! First off, this is somewhat rich coming from a guy who was a top contender for the award for ‘complainer of the year’. It is also fair to say that I probably held that honour for several decades (not years) running! But hey, this series is all about ‘confessions’, so I have to ‘fess up and tell you the truth.
Just as much as I could say that thinking positive was responsible for much of my happiness in the past, I could also say that my complaining, blaming others and self-pity were responsible for tainting several decades of my life with unnecessary discontent. Thankfully, I was shown another way.
When I first realised that complaining was working against me, I was afraid of thinking or expressing what I considered to be ‘negative’ thoughts. I understand now that acknowledging the way I feel and expressing emotions like anger and frustration or letting someone know that I was unhappy with what they have said or done (or failed to do) is not a bad thing and that it can actually be helpful at times to do this. But I feel that there is a difference between these things and what I now refer to as ‘complaining’.
To me complaining usually means we are blaming someone or something else for the way our life is going. Blaming others for our unhappiness is the opposite of taking responsibility for our happiness. And so, this is not something I see as being at all helpful to indulge in.
Complaining usually means, saying that we are a victim of someone or something. Playing victim and blaming others means that we must then look to someone or something outside of ourselves to make things better. So to complain is to disempower ourselves and give control of our lives and happiness to other people, circumstances and forces outside of us. Again, not helpful.
Last, but not least, complaining is often about the perceived lack of something. And a lack-based mentality is the opposite of being grateful. Knowing that an attitude of gratitude is a HUGE contributor to happiness, I can only imagine the effect that its opposite must have on our happiness (more on this in another post).
In the end, complaining is not only unhelpful and counter-productive, but it also serves to rob us of our precious NOW. We will never live this moment again, so why waste it getting worked up about something that has already come and gone?
Just like thinking positive, I see complaining as a habit and a way of being. It is a ‘lens’ through which we can choose to see ourselves and the world around us. But unlike thinking positive, complaining works against us and steals the happiness from our lives. It is therefore something to be avoided and to ultimately move away from.