I imagine that if could take back the words I speak that sometimes I would do so. As I stroll down memory lane, I can think of far too many instances that fall into this category. Envision with me a scenario where I drop onto the couch one evening expecting to relax. My intention is to avoid doing much of anything this evening. It is at this moment that my wife asks me to perform a task that I don’t want to do. My first instinct? Complain!! If complaining was an Olympic sport, I think at one time I could have competed for a gold medal!
I am sure that many of you have heard and experienced the saying that “opposites attract”. This is never more true than in regards to complaining. My wife absolutely abhors complaining. She just can’t stand it! As you may imagine, this led to some tension during our early years of marriage. Thankfully, I have been able to improve through the years. Why are there still times I choose to complain rather than formulate a more productive response? How do I overcome this pattern of complaining?
Over the years I have battled with my tendency to complain. In order to improve, I have had to process the following truths about this behavior:
- Lack of gratitude is a joy killer – a prime time for me to complain is if my wife prepares something that I am less than enthusiastic about for dinner. I have to tell you – this is so bad!! My wife has just worked hard to prepare a meal for our family and then I am going to complain. Not a smart decision! Not being thankful for this contribution from my wife steals any joy that she might have received from preparing the meal. Thankfulness will stop complaining in its tracks.
- My heart must change to see from a different perspective – at the heart of complaining is selfishness. It is critical for me to get outside of myself and consider other people’s feelings before I start to complain. When I view a situation by standing in the other person’s shoes it will undoubtedly change the way I choose to respond. If I allow my heart to be influenced by forces that cause me to think of others before myself, I can stop the complaining before it starts.
- I must address the underlying dissatisfaction – it is important to drill down on the motivation for my complaining. I find that, when I am truthful with myself, I complain because I want my own way. Another motivation for my complaining is that I want the person to whom I am complaining to suffer for the way I perceive I am “suffering”. I use this term loosely here because the “suffering” to which I am referring is almost always nothing more than minor inconvenience. In order to stop complaining I must turn my back on these motivations.
Complaining can become a cancer that destroys everything around us. If you struggle with complaining as I do, I encourage you to look for a different path. Life is so much bigger and better when we take our eyes off of ourselves.
Question: Do you struggle with complaining? What are your strategies to fight the urge to complain? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
Sign up for updates and never miss a weekly post!