I don’t often come across people who complain a lot and are otherwise upbeat about life and their path through it. Rather, the only thing complaining seems to achieve is reminding you how unhappy you are. Instead, either do something about whatever you are complaining about or change your expectations to suit your circumstances.
Sure, challenges are real (in a sense) and we have to acknowledge them before we can tackle them but just complaining about them doesn’t make them go away. If anything, complaining about something feeds it, magnifies it because we focus so much attention on it that we lose perspective.
This reminds me of that great discussion about fear in After Earth when Cypher Raige, Will Smith’s character, discusses fear with his son:
Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity Kitai. Do not misunderstand me, danger is very real, but fear is a choice. We are all telling ourselves a story and that day mine changed.
Not complaining isn’t easy. I do it far more often than I’d like but, at the same time, it helps to be mindful of when you are complaining, even if you don’t have a more productive way of dealing with the underlying issue. It all begins with that mindfulness because once you have that, you empower yourself to make a real change in your life, however small.
When that mindfulness becomes a habit, all those little changes accumulate and you begin to feel like you may just be steering the course of more and more of your life.
One thing for sure though: complaining doesn’t achieve anything but remind you how unhappy you are, how little influence you allow yourself to have over your life.