Our words are powerful. They affect our thoughts, as well as those of the people around us. By giving words to the problems we have in our lives, we give them power. That power can change the way we look at a challenge, that power can drain your optimism and replace it with that soul crushing pessimism. Giving power to you complaints is essentially self sabotage, but it can be avoided.
Our words are powerful actors upon our own minds and subconsciously, the process of complaining degrades your opinion of yourself, you start to believe that whatever it is you’re complaining about truly is too hard, too big. When we complain, we are inadvertently acknowledging that whatever problem we are facing is too big for us to handle. I’ve read the same thing about sarcasm and how it actually promotes a negative self value, but that’s a topic for another time.
We can, however, take away the power that complaining has and remove it from our self talk to help improve our resilience and outlook. Try some of these techniques for yourself, see what works, but remember that like anything it takes time to develop positive habits or practices that will have any meaningful impact.
Firstly, ask yourself what you are grateful for. This is a seemingly simple activity you can do first thing in the morning, in the car or on the bus on the way to work, or at the end of a day that has really kicked your ass. Make a list, physical or mental, whichever you prefer. Try and list three to five things that you are grateful for, these can be as simple as “I’m grateful that I got through the day.” or “I’m grateful for having x person(s) in my life who care about me and love me.”. It doesn’t have to be complex or a drawn out process. Try make this a part of your daily routine and be mindful for the things that are going well in your life the next time you want to complain about something.
Secondly, count your luxuries. I’m sure you’ve heard of the term “First World Problems”. Everyone has problems, the whole playing field of life is fraught with them. It’s all based on perspective and your problems are no less important or valid than anyone else’s. The importance of perspective however, is to make sure you don’t take any of your luxuries for granted. Your Wireless 4G internet is running slow on your new smartphone? Be grateful you have access to the internet and top of the line technology, the money to pay for these luxuries, a safe community where you aren’t robbed for your possessions or a functioning body and mind through which you can experience the world. It’s not a “First World Problem”, it just takes some perspective.
Lastly, check yourself. Everyone has problems and they are all doing their best to get through them to reach some figurative or literal finish line. Before you give that power to your problems by complaining, just check yourself. Don’t bring that negativity into the world, there’s enough of it already. Turn it into a solution; instead of complaining to your friend over a drink at the end of the week, tell them about what you overcame, what you achieved and what you’re planning to achieve or what you succeeded with or what you’re hoping to succeed with.
It’s okay to talk about our problems, in fact sometimes that is the only way we can find the solutions to some of them, sometimes we just need a sounding board or some support to get us to that finish line or to find some perspective. But, whatever you choose to do with your words, don’t give power to your problems by complaining.