I have a friend who loves to complain about how horrible her supervisor is at work. I have another friend who always complains about how her mother-in-law calls her several times a day (yes, during work hours) just to ΓÇ£check inΓÇ¥ on the family. Best of all is my friend who complains about how much another friend complains to her about everything.
And IΓÇÖm as guilty as everyone else. Complaining feels good. Venting makes you feel better — at least temporarily. But what does it accomplish in the long run? When my girlfriend, we will call her ΓÇ£Joanne,ΓÇ¥ complains about her supervisor (who I donΓÇÖt even know), does it change her supervisor? I have to assume that it doesnΓÇÖt because JoanneΓÇÖs still complaining about him!
After a few years of Joanne complaining about the same thing it was stressing me out. When she would call I just didnΓÇÖt want to pick up the phone. IΓÇÖm sure she never even realized it, but her boss was putting a strain on our friendship, and probably every other area of her life.
I finally asked her, “Why are you complaining to me about it instead of talking (talking, not complaining) to your boss about it? I canΓÇÖt change the situation, I donΓÇÖt even know your boss!”
After I made my profound statement to her I felt guilty. We all have a tendency to complain to the people who canΓÇÖt fix the situation. Instead of going to your boss about why she didnΓÇÖt promote you, you complain to your secretary. Instead of talking to your sister about how she upset you at Christmas in 2001, you complain to your brother. And the issue never comes to a close.
It’s time to learn how to take the energy you spend complaining about the issue to those who cannot help and deal with the problem and person for a way the situation can be remedied. When you find yourself complaining about something or someone, truly examine whatΓÇÖs going on and then go to the source. Complaining about someone behind their back will never change them; it will only jeopardize the relationship you have with the ones who are listening.
More importantly, a little self reflection may help you realize that the complaint isn’t with another person, but something you’re upset with in yourself. Making this revelation can put you on the path of fixing it, and you can use that energy to enjoy life — not complain about it.
photo credit: birdonarock/FDP.net