“Man invented language to satisfy his deep need to complain.” ~Lily Tomlin

complainingThe connection? There isn’t any.

Well, that was a short article.

Ok, allow me to expand on that. People may not have a clear picture of what they want but they are vivid about what they don’t want. Once the negative {whatever} has been labeled, they often proceed to being vocal about their dissatisfaction and disapproval of how things are.

Complaining is a waste of time, precious time, time you will never, ever get back. Oh, but you claim it makes you feel better? It may make you feel victimized or maybe justified but better…really? No, chances are that it makes you feel worse, weak and hopeless.

This doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for constructive feedback and useful suggestions. But be honest, you know when you are offering up helpful advice and when you are just whining. (By the way, there are some other euphemisms for complaining I could be using here, but I like to keep it family friendly. You know the ones. Substitute them for greater impact if that works for you.)

Do you think complaining draws you closer together with certain people? It’s true that some folks seem to listen to your complaints…and then add their own. But really all they are interested in is receiving validation for their own list of complaints. If you are truthful with yourself, your only interest in their complains is for the same self-serving reason. And let’s face it, a relationship built on mutual grievances is a pretty lousy one because sooner or later, one or both of you is going to have a complaint about the other that you won’t share and off the rails you go.

Your Relationship With Reality

There is one bright spot in this complaining ritual: you first have to make an observation of your world. No one says, “Man, I hate it when the sun goes all chartreuse and the laundry on the line turns bright green!” The sun may turn a lot of colors but chartreuse isn’t among them and, besides, the color of the sun doesn’t affect your wash…ever.

Complaining always starts with an observation: it’s too hot, it’s too cold, prices are too high, my earnings are too low, etc. A key word in such observations that makes launching a complaint easier is “too”. “Too” makes for a value judgment. If you come in from the snow observing that it is cold, that’s one thing. But when you decide it is too cold, now we are off to the races.

Complaining is sourced in a longing for a different reality. There is nothing wrong with having a preference for something other than the way it is now. But complaining requires a failure to embrace what is now. Now is going to change since change is ever present. Complaining has no part in the change. In fact, engaging in complaints leaves you out of the change process. Complaining and engaging are mutually exclusive. (That’s means you can have one or the other, but not both.)

You probably know some big time complainers. Are they successful people in your estimation? Would an outside observer describe them as satisfied? Do they exude peace? No, they don’t look like a very appealing model to emulate.

Ok, now think of an example of someone you view as successful and peaceful. Is he or she a chronic complainer? Ok, maybe not. So think of some other people who are satisfied and known for their achievements. They’re not complainers either? Huh, go figure.

“Do you know the connection between complaining and success, satisfaction and peace?” click to tweet

I know it is satisfying (for a moment anyway) to complain. I am going to ask you to take a little more long term view. Every minute you squander complaining is a minute you are not figuring out how to get the new and improved life you would prefer. It is a minute you are not open to receiving insight or wisdom. Don’t get hung up on the things you can’t change.

Actually, a lot more is changeable than the average complainer believes. But since they are so busy complaining, they never get around to that consideration. There is a lot of talk these days about manifestation. Let’s suffice it to say that you are a player in the game of your life. You have some influence and some say so. You abdicate that influence and say when you instead stoop to complaining.

If you prefer complaining to satisfaction, it’s your choice. But I have a notion that you don’t. So test out this: implement a criticism embargo. Determine to not complain for a month, a week, or even a day. If you slip up, restart the clock. At the beginning, you may find you have to start over a lot. You will likely be astonished at the stuff you bother to complain about, things so trivial and inconsequential that it isn’t worth your breath to mutter. But once you get in the groove, the world will look different. You will be more content and feel more in control. And once you are there, success, satisfaction and peace can’t be far behind.

What complaints have you given up? Tell us about it by commenting below.

Photo credit: Kimberly Winnington

The Connection Between Complaining And Success, Satisfaction And Peace
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3 thoughts on “The Connection Between Complaining And Success, Satisfaction And Peace

  • Permalink

    Wait a minute, don’t protesters often succeed at changing things? Aren’t they “complaining”?

    • Permalink

      While I’m not a big fan of protesting, it is not mere complaining. Protesting is an aggressive way of making suggestions. Complainers sit it the bar is gripe to the bartender. Protesters are out in the street waving a banner.

  • Permalink

    It must have been ESP. I heard a few of my friends complaining about the state of our government and how badly it was being run.

    The thought that went through my head was “Well why are you just sitting here, slurping on your coffee and whining instead of actually doing something about it?”. But of course if I said that out loud, I would become the subject of complaint too.

    Personally 2014 is the year that I have stopped whining about my situation and am actually doing something (action) to change it.


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