What’s There to Complain About?

Joyce Shafer

Joyce L. Shafer

People might say there’s a lot to complain about these days, and so it’s been throughout history. How’s that working for you and for all of us so far?

We all complain aloud at times. Does it count as complaining if we do it silently to ourselves? Yep. And we’re likely guiltier of this silent “complaint-athon” activity than complaining aloud because of how many thoughts we have each day. It would astonish us to actually mark down how many times we complain in just one twenty-four-hour period. That’s a lot of thought energy going—where, and to what end? Complaining aloud or not attracts more to complain about into our lives. We also cause ourselves to feel bad when we complain.

Complaining is a sign of discontent. This feels even worse when we do nothing to create improvement at our inner and or outer levels about what we’re unhappy with. Discontent is an opportunity to ask how you can improve or make whatever you’re discontent about better, even if just a bit. The reality is that whether you feel discontent or not is up to you. Discontent is a feeling brought about by a thought you have. Ugh! This means we are responsible for what we choose to think about after the first time the thought pops up and then what we feel as a result of this thought process. We may not like this, but it’s a fact.

This doesn’t mean we are to believe we are supposed to feel positive only. That’s a fallacy, an imposition, and unrealistic. However, most of our everyday, continuous bad or unhappy feelings are self-generated, and that’s what we want to consider and address. A real need to vent in order to be heard and validated is necessary to all of us at times. But we should be able to recognize that once we’ve told our story once or a few times, if we continue to talk about the same thing over and over—unless it’s a deep psychological matter that needs qualified professional assistance, we’ve gone beyond venting and have entered the realm of complaining, especially if we take no productive or constructive inner or outer action to improve ourselves and or what upset us in the first place. This doesn’t mean we are to set about changing everything and everyone we are discontent with, which is impossible (and in some cases, rude), but to at least change something within us before we aim at changing what we can that’s external to us.

Self-pity is a form of complaining, and demonstrates you’re not using your personal power properly. Any form of consistent complaining, especially about the same matter(s), depletes the personal power you do have. It hinders your ability to remember that your power and strength is within you, not outside of you. Your personal power is within your thoughts, within your ability to choose your thoughts, before it’s found anywhere else. Self-pity, or any form of consistent complaining, is like a sticky substance, which is why it makes people uncomfortable; it makes them suddenly remember an imaginary appointment they’re about to be late for or that a pot is boiling over on the empty stove, so they have to disengage the call. They feel compelled to flee because they know at an energetic level that self-pity is a one-way road downward, possibly into an abyss.

Complaining is resisting. It’s getting stuck where you are and putting your attention and energy “there” rather than putting your attention on what you can do that you will do. You can’t awaken or expand your consciousness if you practice resistance and fear more than you do awareness and flow with what-is in the moment. If you want to awaken or expand consciousness, you must strengthen your spiritual foundation based on your relationship with Source and your self, to help you release resistance and fear, in order to go beyond them. You must look for solutions rather than amplify the problems.

When you focus your attention through complaining, resistance, and fear, you decrease available brain power, which is the very thing you need to move forward and upward. Those who have awakened consciousness or strive to will have their emotions stirred up at times, but they also know they are to strive to move forward, and they do so, as soon as possible or practical for them.

When you feel any level of negativity, and especially strong negativity, the way to reduce the charge of that energy is to release resistance to what-is. The way to release resistance is to find something or someone to appreciate then connect with that feeling and energy. There is no resistance in appreciation. Think about that for a moment. The way to convert complaining, in any of its forms, into personal power is through genuine appreciation, which is a form of infinite love. Appreciation, aloud or not, attracts more to appreciate. And, you instantly feel better when you do this. Maybe not fully the way you want to feel, but better.

When you complain, especially if consistently or pretty close to that, silently or aloud, you focus on what you consider wrong. When you find something or someone to appreciate, you shift your point of attention from what’s “wrong” to what’s right, to what’s good in your life, and what’s working; and this attention leads you to put your attention on how YOU can improve, which leads you to improve your situation and or experiences.

What contributes to complaining as a practice? I’d say the number one reason is this: Not loving yourself. Begin saying “I love myself” several times a day, especially before you go to sleep and when you wake. And I hope you recognize that I’m not referring to a narcissistic or ego-based love, but more like the love you feel when you gaze at a sleeping child you cherish or a beloved pet. Recognizing that love you have for them, how do you treat them? How intentional and committed are you to give them proper care? This is how you want to treat you. And the way you treat yourself ripples outward to how to treat others and life.

Other, “common” things that contribute to complaining as a practice include: Inadequate or poor quality sleep and rest or recharge time; poor diet (garbage in, garbage out—energy-wise); watching more news than you need to; dwelling on or staying stuck in self-pity; allowing the habit of or addiction to complaining to run you and your life; criticizing others (as though your own slate is clean). All of these and other things you might list contribute to or build an unhappy life, which leads to complaining about your life. You might believe that if there were no causes for these things listed to happen (others or life doing it to you in the first place), you’d stop complaining. But that’s a bassackwards approach that has never and will never work.

When this is your state of mind, it’s also your state of being. It affects you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. When one area is out of balance, the other three are affected. This state of mind robs you of energy, creativity, and life force. And you are the only one who can shift this. “If you focus on results, you will never change. If you focus on change, you will get results.” – Unknown

Some of the changes you can start with include doing the opposite of those energy-depleting behavior practices listed above. Do at least one opposite practice every day, but every day find something and someone to appreciate, or at least three of each to appreciate. Do the “I love myself” practice every day and watch and see how you start to feel, how your energy begins to shift upwards, and the improvements you begin to come up with and act on.

Most of the “crapolla” we put ourselves through and allow in our life is because we haven’t allowed ourselves to truly love ourselves (we take care of what we truly love). We burden others with our need to feel loved; and even if they love us, we still may not feel the self-love we crave. We bought into the indoctrinated idea that loving ourselves is a “bad thing” to do, when not loving ourselves in the way I described is absolutely one of the worst things we can do to ourselves, others, and our life.

James Altucher wrote: “This is how we form a better society. First we become better as individuals. You can’t help others if you look in the mirror and hate what you see.” Of course, he isn’t referring to our physical appearance, but how we feel about ourselves. If we appreciate ourselves, this influences how we create and nurture our life experiences and personal and professional relationships, and how we build and nurture society. Unfortunately, we, for the most part, really do love others as we love ourselves. We need to amp up love in our lives and on our planet; and not starting next week—now.

How can we do and be better at this? We have to improve our thinking. When our thinking improves, life improvements follow. For our thinking to improve, we need to start with better health (diet, sleep, exercise); better mindset (adequate sleep, less stress—whatever it takes to get you there, but more often than not it’s more about shifting your perspective first); feeding your mind with better information through books and other media that uplift and or help you expand your conscious awareness; connecting with your trust in Source and of yourself, and daily practice of thoughts that get you off the negativity merry-go-round.

A moment-by-moment question we can ask is this: Which one will result in joy and or fulfillment for me as I move through this situation (or day)—complaining or appreciation? And please remember: if you don’t like something, figure out how you can improve yourself (starting with your perspective) and or the situation even a bit. It’s a good practice, one you’ll appreciate.

Practice makes progress.

© Joyce Shafer

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Joyce L. Shafer is a Life Empowerment Coach dedicated to helping people feel, be, and live their true inner power. She’s author of “I Don’t Want to be Your Guru, But I Have Something to Say” and other books/ebooks, and publishes a free weekly online newsletter that offers empowering articles and free downloads. See all that’s offered by Joyce and on her site at http://stateofappreciation.weebly.com