“Man spends his life in reasoning on the past, in complaining of the present, in fearing future.” - Antoine Rivarol

I was sitting at a local Starbucks snuggled up in a comfy chair with a good book and a piping hot latte when I heard a woman exclaim, "Traffic was a bear getting here! ...“Man spends his life in reasoning on the past, in complaining of the present, in fearing future.” - Antoine Rivarol

I was sitting at a local Starbucks snuggled up in a comfy chair with a good book and a piping hot latte when I heard a woman exclaim, "Traffic was a bear getting here! Drivers today are morons and you'd think they would put a traffic light where the entrance to this place is!"

eGads! Three complaints within 30 seconds. And the woman hadn't even ordered her coffee yet.

I saw this woman drive up and park her car. Her brake light wasn't working and she had stuff cluttering the top of her car dashboard. Her quick pace as she nearly ran into Starbucks indicated that she was running late to meet her friend. As she ordered her mocha whipped whatever she gave specific instructions to the person behind the counter to make sure they didn't 'screw up' her order (her words). As she finally settled in to meet with her friend she rolled her eyes as if to say the entire world was filled with buffoons and she the only sane person on the planet.

OoooohhhhH! I giggled, "This is going to be an interesting conversation to listen to".

Yes, I must admit. I eavesdrop. Often. I find it fascinating to listen to how people think. I don't care so much about the topic; I listen for generalizations, belief systems, and thought patterns. I then listen as the other person in the conversation often adds their own meanings, based on their own belief system, to what was said and the conversation builds from there. Very quickly, if not at the onset, the conversation has nothing to do with what is, it is centered in the distortions of what is perceived.

And a lot of complaining is involved.

Why is that? Why do people complain and complain and complain? What do they get out of it?

Studies have shown that women were more likely than men to use complaints as an indirect request for action, while men were more likely to use complaints to excuse behavior or to make themselves seem superior. ("Women and Language" Sept. 22 2006)

Do I hear complaints voiced about the above statement?

Complaining can be damaging to your health, your level of productivity and your life in general. Complaining is not an observance of what is going on, it is far more than mere observation, it is a creative act. Complaining is the act of reinforcing what you don’t want and, thereby, creating even more of it. It’s the act of dwelling on, staying stuck in, the negative.

When you complain, your Inner Critic, that voice of self-doubt and fear, is hard at work. This Inner Critic is working so hard to keep you safe an comfortable in your comfort zone that complaining may have become a daily habit. You may not even realize how much you complain! Habits become so routine that people often don't even notice their own habitual patterns.

The more you complain, the better you feel about yourself. It is the Inner Critic's way of showing you how messed up the rest of the world is and, by comparison, you're not that messed up. Or whatever is lacking in your experience is not your fault; it's the fault of those morons, idiots, and incompetents!

"Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain; and most fools do." - Benjamin Franklin
So many people complain that it is often a good common ground from which to start a conversation. And this is what I observed that morning at Starbucks. And again with a client on the phone that afternoon. And again at dinner with friends. And again while watching television. The news and sitcoms were ripe with people complaining about this, that or the other thing.

Complaining has become the latest feel good pill. People gripe and moan about things that are seemingly out of their control so they can excuse what's not working in their lives. The trouble is, the more you complain the more experiences you have of 'not working for me'. When you complain you may feel superior but you don't feel good. When you complain you might get someone to do something but the satisfaction last for only a fleeting moment so you find another thing to complain about because you are, fundamentally, unsatisfied with your life. It's a dangerous vicious cycle.

Complaining traps you in a world of negativity. The negativity, like it or not, is your comfort zone. It's what you know. You don't even know what it's like to go through life, let alone a day, without complaining. When you complain you keep yourself stuck right where you are in the complaint zone constantly on the lookout for more things to be or go wrong. It's what you expect so that's what you get. People always get what they expect at their deepest level. When you complain you are focused upon that which you do not want. And you get what you give your energy, attention and focus to.

Complaining, therefore, robs you of the opportunity to live an exceptional life. Complaining spreads negative energy and negative energy cannot create a positive outcome. It is as simple as that.

How do you reverse the complaining cycle?

Deliberately and mindfully notice your words, the daily conversations you have and the conversations you're exposed to. For the next 24 hours, notice when you voice a complaint and write it down. You'll be surprised how many times you complain in one day! Look at your complaints. Without judgment as yourself what was the underlying benefit you hoped to achieve with the complaint? Were you making an excuse so you wouldn't be blamed for something or wouldn't have to do something? Were you aggravated and wanted to make yourself feel better by letting off some steam?

Ask yourself what was it that you really wanted when you complained? It usually boils down to wanting to feel better about yourself, your experience and your circumstance. Complaining won't get you there. Deliberately finding something good about yourself, your experience and your circumstance will get you to that place of feeling better.

For example, if you're stuck in traffic remind yourself that you have a car to get you from place to place. If the driver in the lane next to you cut you off or is talking on his cell phone remind yourself that you have the good sense and ability to avoid this person. If someone messed up your coffee order remind yourself that this person didn't get up in the morning with plans to put too much mocha in your frappy. The mistake wasn't deliberate. People do the best they can. And while you're at it, lighten up on yourself as well. You didn't get out of bed this morning with the intention of having a miserable day. You're doing the best you can too.

"You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses." - Ziggy

Author's Bio: 

Valery is a Mentor, Coach & Author who provides an all in one toolkit and training course that give you the necessary tools and information to get over the unique challenges that come from success, fame and fortune. Championing those who have or aspire fame and/or fortune to maximize their potential is her calling. She's fully prepared to engage clients with her experience, extensive training, certifications. For more information please visit http://www.FameMentor.com