24 June, 2013

Act of Complaining

ARGH! We all have been there right? We complain about the weather, the time wasted on customer service calls, the myriad of reasons why we weren't able to do something... or how something was done to us! Complaining, why do we do it, what purpose does it serve, how are we caught in the complaining cycle and how do we get out?
Today, I was reading from another author how he was tired of listening to perputual complainers, those who complain about everything.  I thought for a minute or two, about how I complain and what purpose it served in my life.  What I discovered is that I have gone through periods of high complaining tapering off to minimal complaining.  
Certainly, when we are challenged and tested, the environment is ripe to be on "high complaint mode".  There are things that may not work out as we had planned, people who seem to frustrate the process further, outside circumstances which force us to rethink, start over etc.  When our expecatations are high, these set backs have a way of derailing our focus.  The "high complaint mode" is ready to kick in, it seems.  At least for me, I know this is true.  Our ego looks for excuses and others to blame so it feels better about not having met the expectation. 
However, there is another instance when the "high complaint mode" is primed up for expression.   Think about the people you surround yourself with or follow.  (With social media today, we participate in  many agendas with a simple 'share' or 'like' contributing to the overall proliferation of the message).   Ask yourself these questions, do the people you engage with complain frequently, do they support your complaining with affirmations of further negativity?  Are you a supporter of another perpetual complainer, by way to agreeing, offering more acknowledgment and adding to a spiral of energy set forth?
I admit freely here, that I have been a perpetual complainer for years.  In hindsight, I see these were periods of time I was in a very negative rut.  Either I was in a depression or I surrounded myself with people who supported this "everyone is out to get me attitude".  It is hard to even realize you are in this pattern when those around you are doing the very same thing!
There is a popular saying insinuating the idea that you need to be careful of the people you surround yourself with, as they will affect your reputation etc.  (I believe the saying has something to do with stepping in shit and smelling like it  icon of steaming turd ).  For me, this idea has proven itself many times.  The periods of my life when I was more confident where the happier times and the people around me where also happy.  Those other periods where I was down in the depths of negativity, it seemed those around me were fewer and also ready to add fuel to an already out of control fire.  
Why do we do it?  It can "feel" good to release some steam.  We see other's doing it and want to belong and feel the pressure to chime in.  
What purpose does it serve?  The release valve, the moment of exhalation and sometimes just getting out the thoughts help.  If we turn the act of complaining into a way to see the problem in a different way, as a challenge, we might find the solution.  We just need to open up to a different viewpoint.  
How did I get out?  I moved.  Simple right?  Well the move itself was a bit stressful, but I moved miles away out of my patterns and out of my comfort zone.  This move helped me start over, I meet new people and found their happier attitudes lifted me up.  I started to incorporate ideas that I had stored away for later, when it was time to start living my life again.  I did the work; I bucked up and made healthier choices.  I scrutinized the books, the movie, the TV, the conversations, the people I allowed in... and if they were no longer helpful, I moved on.  I started to taste sweetness and I didn't want to let go of this new sensation.  
Of course there are many tenants of keeping balance and even allowing bitterness, saltiness, sour etc. into our taste profiles.  All in good measure and proper perspective these blend well and create a healthy balance.  It is the perpetual aspect of complaining and negativity that is not healthy, which I have focused on here.  
The next time you recognize a "high complainer" or see yourself slipping into a pattern, stop for a moment and see what opportunity has been placed before you.  There is always something to discover about ourselves in self reflection.   This is how we grow, learn and develop our authentic selves.