40 Days, 40 Habits You Should Break; Day #16: Complaining
Bad Habit #16: Complaining
No matter what the situation is, or how positive it maybe, people will always find a reason to complain. Complaints are an integral part of our daily lives and we tend to use them as icebreakers when we start a conversation because we know they will get us a bigger response than saying something positive would. While doing some research on this topic, I found that there are two basic categories of complaints: instrumental and expressive. Instrumental complaints are goal oriented, meaning that we verbalize the problem in hopes of bringing about change. Expressive complaints have a different mission: to let the speaker get something off his/her chest. But the problem is that most people abuse expressive complaining, grumbling incessantly with no real interest in dialogue, problem solving, or human connection.
We always say the phrase “I can’t complain” when someone asks how we are… unfortunately, we can complain… and we often times do. Chronic complainers tend to get stuck in that victim mode that often irritates those around them; they commandeer hours of your time telling you their problems, yet reject your help and don’t take any of the advice you give them. This is where I have a problem.. if you’re going to be complaining about something, then you have to be open to receiving help or criticisms about the issue from whomever it is you are venting to. Continuing to complain about something while not making any attempts to amend the situation is pointless.
Before being so quick to complain about something, we should constantly be searching for reasons to not complain! There are so many things in our lives to be grateful for and positive about that complaining should often times take a back seat to those instead of the other way around. Of course complaining is natural and sometimes therapeutic, but let’s not make it the overarching theme of all of our conversations. My advice: complain to one person (choose this person carefully), get your ill feelings off your chest, and shut the hell up. And if you don’t like that advice, then just stop complaining altogether.
In case you missed it… Bad Habit #15: Doing Things For Others & Not Yourself