I don’t consider myself a complainer. As I typed that sentence I instantly flashed back to all the posts I wrote about my arthritic knee, being overwhelmed and stressed out, and all the general frustrations of life.
So let me start again: I would like to consider myself a non-complainer. But apparently, I still need to do some work.
The topic of complaining popped up recently at the beginning of an online business meeting, where the founder of the group talked about rules on his Facebook group’s page, which included: NO COMPLAINING!
Anyone breaking this rule will be visited by two men wearing black coats and reflective aviator sunglasses and be given the choice of a blue pill or a red pill.
Actually, I don’t know if that’s true, but you will definitely be reprimanded and flogged repeatedly with your own complaining words and sent out to the shed until you repent for the wrongness of your ways.
The premise behind this guideline, he noted, was that when you complain you immediately take yourself out of the driver’s seat and into victim mode.
In other words, it’s as if you believe you have no control over the irritating issue or situation. This can be a powerful de-motivator if you’re complaining about your exercise routine.
Sometimes you don’t have control over the situation. Take the weather. If you can’t change it, why moan about it to everyone you meet? It’s not as if your words can magically bring about sunshine on a cloudy day.
At least I assume you don’t have such power. (If I’m wrong, please send me a note so I can put in an order for rainbows every weekend going forward.)
So when you do this with your workout, it’s easy to talk yourself out of working out. “I’m so tired/hungry/exhausted/fed up,” etc. all make it much easier to drown your sorrows in a chocolate covered treat than to subject yourself to further punishment at the gym.
Complaining also makes those around you uncomfortable. I know a woman who complains nonstop about her health issues, and it makes me dread starting a conversation.
Me: “It’s a beautiful day today, isn’t it?”
Her: “I’d enjoy it more if it wasn’t for my gout/back pain/toenail fungus…”
No one likes a complainer. Needless to say, it also does nothing to change your circumstances.
This made me take a real hard look at my complaining habits.
Honestly, I don’t complain much, aside from times when my body refuses to cooperate with my brain.
My brain says: “lunge!” And my knee says, “nope.” And my brain responds with, “*&^%$!”
Body talk aside, I thought about how often I kvetch about being tired, which is most days. Otherwise I save my complaints for business issues. Typically, I always seem to have a sense of urgency felt only by myself.
Apparently, patience is one virtue in which I am not particularly well endowed.
So I decided to forever ban complaining from my life – and I challenge YOU to do the same. You in?
I’m so serious about it I even told my husband to feel free to point out to me any time he hears me complain.
I’m sure I’ll regret that.
I vow to only make exceptions when it involves something funny I can incorporate into a blog. When complaining serves a purpose that enables you to turn around the situation, it’s totally worth it.
When you eliminate all complaining from your life notice how much better you feel.
Focus on the good stuff and downplay the bad, and watch how it puts you and everyone around you in a better mood.
Need more tips?
Maybe these will help…
Complaining about waiting in line to the person behind you at the DMV will likely be reciprocated, but try bonding with a funny quip instead. Replace the obvious, “Do you believe this line???” with, “How old were you when you got here?” or something else to lighten the situation.
Take note of times when you’re crankiest and most likely to complain. What sets you off? Maybe it’s being around certain negative friends, or mid-afternoon when you’re hungry, or when you’re hanging out with coworkers around the water cooler.
Make it a point to steer conversations towards happier subjects – or you may need to avoid certain people altogether. Ditto for negative Facebook friends.
Friends want to help. So before you complain about something, ask yourself if anyone can help you resolve the issue or if you’re just venting.
It’s why complaining about feeling tired is futile. No one can do anything about it. But if you have a valid complaint about, say, the overcooked piece of steak at a restaurant, by all means make it known.
Complaining for the sake of complaining, however, only makes you focus on the negative and accomplishes nothing.
What do you complain about the most? Will you put yourself on a complaint diet? Let me know in the comments section below… and let me know how you do!
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Your Ageless Body Coach,
Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.