It was a life choice commitment that I thought would be easy. I was going to stop complaining and stop criticizing people.

I felt quite serene in my decision, knowing that this was the necessary next step in my spiritual progress. After several days I realized this was not going to be easy at all.

Why is it that complaining and criticizing people has become such a part of our behavior that we find it abundantly hard not to complain and criticize? Why are we so eager to find fault? Why do we look for the negative qualities about people and situations? Why are we more often pessimistic than optimistic?

I was not always like this.

I don’t like silverbeet at all, never have. Yet, when my Mum (bless her adventurous soul) made a silverbeet soup for dinner many years ago, I consumed it without argument. And when I had dinner at the house of my friend’s grandmother I ate the entire mountain of silverbeet she heaped on my place, once again, I consumed it without argument. Why? Because it was the polite thing to do, regardless of my total lack of enjoyment. I did not criticize it, I did not complain, because that would not have been polite or considerate. I learnt that lesson as a child.

And yet, somewhere between then and now I learned another lesson that adults are taught: as an adult you are supposed to complain and criticize! We are taught how to and we are encouraged to do so.

Where, along the road from childhood to adulthood, did we discard our politeness and pick up the need to criticize and complain?

Where did we stop celebrating the joy and fun of life and start looking for faults?

People love to criticize other people and they love to complain, because it brings them a sense of superiority, and it gives them a sense of power. If I can criticize you it fulfills my urgent need to be right. Right? If I can find fault with all that you do it means that I am smarter than you and I can do your job better. Right? Wrong! It just means that I am an egotistical prat.

It is so easy to find fault, so easy to be negative and pessimistic. It is much harder to praise that which is worthy of praise and be optimistic. It is harder to be positive than negative. And yet, that is all merely a ‘mind set’. We can, if we choose to, train ourselves to not complain and criticize.

Why did I make the choice to give up criticizing and complaining? Because such behavior does not serve me well, I do not want to be thought of as someone who complains and criticizes other people. I reached a point of worrying if that was how I was portraying myself to the world.

How do I truly desire to portray myself? As someone who is happy and positive, someone who people are happy to see and happy to spend time with, not someone they dread seeing or listening to.

I choose to be positive, to find the good in all people and all situation, to be non-judgmental—unless what they have done is truly fantastic and worthy of massive amounts of praise and kudos—to see that which is good and worthy of celebration all around me.

Why? Because what you focus on, you draw to yourself. What you look for you will find.

I thought it would be easy to stop criticizing and complaining, but the behavior is more ingrained that I thought. It will take time and commitment to break the chain of this behavior, but I believe it will be worth the effort. With success will come an inner peace and the freedom to truly celebrate life and people.

It is time we all chose behaviors that were a true indication of who we would like to be, and how we would like to be perceived.

Author's Bio: 

Robyn is a freelance writer specialising in 'new age'/metaphysical/spiritual articles. She also writes visionary fiction, and is a spiritual counselor and teacher.