LPT Request: How one can cease complaining
I’ve come to appreciate that I complain lots, about all the things and something.
Final instance: final weekend, we tried a brand new bakery. I used to be instructed that one of many first issues I stated at breakfast was that the pastry was very dry and they’re higher on the bakery we normally go to.
And I assume it’s attending to the purpose the place it’s unhealthy and noticeable sufficient that my kinfolk and even shut colleagues have been pointing it out to me.
I’d like to indicate extra appreciation and gratefulness, but it surely looks as if that’s my nature. Thanks prematurely
Comments ( 40 )
You need to make a decision to do it. That’s all.
That might sound reductive but think about every time you’ve done something difficult; it was because you decided to do it. So, decide. And, when you slip, decide. And when you forget, decide. You will backslide but that’s okay. That’s how we get things done.
I wish you well.
“I was told that one of the first things I said” that right there. that’s the problem. lack of self-awareness, or refusal to take personal responsibility.
also “it seems like that’s my nature” nope. there’s no such thing as ‘a nature of compaining’. it’s a choice. it’s a culture (even if just for you or in your own little sphere) personality traits are learned and can be un-learned. again, personal responsibility comes into play here. tough love, u/op. and i say this as one who was formerly in your exact shoes. i turned it around and now only complain when it means i can get free stuff 🙂
Your second to last sentence says it all. If you can replace complaints with gratefulness or thankfulness that will help you tremendously. It’s a mindset, and it will take effort. I recommend journaling about it, or making a conscious decision to be mindful and specific about one thing you’re grateful for each day. If you have good relationships with your family, friends,or S.O., ask them to kindly call you out, so that it can help you be more aware. Best of luck!
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” When eating a meal for example, stop and think “what am I currently enjoying about this meal?” Instead of comparing it to something at another restaurant, stop and judge it on its own merits. “This pastry is nice and sweet, it’s got a flaky crust. The cashier here was very friendly too.” Maybe you do like the other pastry more but if can you find something good to say about the one that’s in front of you, you’ll be more content. Same with activities and entertainment: don’t let comparison be your only guide. Focus on what you are enjoying and experiencing in the moment.
Start keeping track by hand of all the times you or someone else notices or comments on your complaining. Better yet, put a little note or sticker on that day in your phone’s calendar and assess yourself at the end of a month. Making yourself visually aware of your level/frequency of complaining seems like it could be a good start. You have to be aware of the magnitude of the problem or else you’ll never condition yourself to be able to notice it creeping into your mind before having a chance to change your thoughts and habits.
You may consider discussing it with a therapist. For me, it was a resulting hypervigilance due to PTSD. I was tracking *everything*, evaluating, looking for problems , looking for danger.
Subconsciously, “it’s dry someone’s going to freak, etc.” and here is a shot of emotion to help out.
After working with the therapist, the complaining is gone.
If the opinion is negative, don’t let it out of your mouth.
Think before you speak, be mindful of your thoughts. At that bakery you had many thoughts before speaking. Process them before communicating.
I say this because you wrote “I was told” which to me, means that you don’t remember saying that.
From personal experience, it took me a long time to gain the skill of choosing what to say. I still can’t do it all the time.
The easiest way for me to decide what to say in most situations, is to ask myself, am I being positive or negative?
You can feel however you want about anything, choosing to share with others is your choice. The added benefit of choosing against negativity is that you will grow accustom to not being negative, which causes those feelings and thoughts to fade over time.
It’s ok to say less, it’s ok to take your time, it’s ok to not respond.
If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. That’s why I’m so quiet. lol
It’s not your fault if their pastry is very dry. Someone needs to be willing to say it out loud.
Hit your head with a heavy object until you forget better experiences you had and lose the intellect that allows you to identify bad from good from excellent and become average.
Alternative is to befriend people 10 points around your IQ.
“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”
Expect people to have good intentions. I mean Trump was a disaster, but he does want the best for his family and country.
Say more nice things so your ‘being nice percentage’ goes up.
Help people in tough situations, it will make them feel goed, you feel good and in the end you’re more grateful for yourself.
Find meaning and purpose.
View yourself through others people’s eyes sometimes. For most empathetic people it happens automatic. But you can also train it.
Taking a beat before we speak is helpful – I had to learn this myself ‘cos I was a bit of a blurter as a youth. Also think every time;
‘Does this need to be said’
‘Does this need to be said *by me*’
Does this need to be said by me *right now*?’
As for being more positive, that can take time to really think about – but don’t make positive stuff up just to hear your voice, then it just comes across as fake.
Your ‘nature’ is just whatever you’ve trained your brain to look for. It’s called the Tetris effect. Whatever you ‘play’, whatever you train you brain for, it will see everywhere you go. Play Tetris repeatedly, and you’ll start noticing the shapes in the buildings you go play.
Start training your brain for the positive. Start the day – or better yet do it over dinner with your family – sharing three things you’re grateful for. This may be hard to think of at first, but force yourself. That struggle to think is what retrains your brain. Do this for 3 weeks straight and you’ll notice a difference. Keep training your brain in these ways – add a positivity journal, journaling about a positive experience that day – or whatever other techniques.
This is not your ‘nature’. It is whatever you trained your brain to look for. Your brain is just doing what it was trained to do. The good news is you can train it to do other things.
We only get one brain. Take care of it.
This Ted talk is a good start:
How about maybe the new bakery shouldn’t suck then people wouldn’t have to worry about hearing complaints. I value your honest opinion about where to get a proper pastry
Maybe first instead of trying to complain less (which will require some mindfulness and isn’t a bad idea), you can try to write down three things three days a week that you’re grateful for. If you have a friend who might be down for this, you can email them to each other at the end of the day, without any pressure or need for comments from the other person. If not, get a journal and write them down for yourself.
They don’t have to be huge sweeping gratitude statements about your soul and existence (though they can be). It could be as little as “Im grateful that it didn’t rain today when I was at the park.” “I’m grateful my package came a day early.” Etc. There are studies about making gratitude exercises a habit and how it can eventually lead to scanning for positives instead of negatives in your brain.
Idk. I’m in the same boat. Realized some of it was due to not taking action to fix issues in my life that were making me cranky, including chronic pain. Some of those issues are gone and I find myself complaining less. Found a supplement called Joy and is also helping a bit. I know when I work out, I feel better. Getting the workout in consistently is the issue. Basically I think it’s a combination of things.
First of all, I applaud you for recognizing the problem and owning up to it.
I’m the type of person that’s always grateful because I have the “it could’ve been worse” attitude.
Like if something disappointing happens I’m always like “that’s ok, it could’ve been worse”.
This makes me look at things half full instead of half empty.
Either go to therapy or do some serious soul searching about *why* you complain and address it.
For me it was because I was insecure about myself and thought sounding smart would make me look interesting and sound clever because I was noticing things people didn’t. I had to teach myself that being smart isn’t a reflection of my worth and that no one was really impressed by it anyway. It felt really liberating to not be a smartass anymore.
I have friends who have progressively fallen into this, as I call it, a habit. I’m sure you complaining to the point that you’re saying you do just didn’t happened over night. I think with frequent habits of complaining comes a sense of narcissism/entitlement of feeling like nothing in your life should cause you an inconvenience, even as simple as the example you gave: i.e., the pastry not being pleasing enough for you.
Like all bad habits, you have to be aware that you’re doing it, and start making plans to stop it. It’s ok to have complaints, and some complaints are warranted, but do you need to make everyone else aware of them? Sure, voicing a complaint with friends/loved ones every now and then is normal, and it’s even better when you find others have a similar complaint, but the degree that you’re saying it happens has turned into negativity for everyone else.
Not everything is going to be perfect, and you have to acknowledge human error. Maybe the cook left your steak on the grill 2 seconds too long, and it’s not the degree of medium well that you’re accustomed too, but it’s definitely not well done….well you have to just say to yourself, “The next steak will be perfect”, and just eat the one in front of you.
The only way to express gratitude is to look for the gratitude outside the box. Take the pastry example. Instead of saying, “This is too dry”, simply say, “I love how they decorated the bakery.” or “I love the cozy seating.” or “It smells amazing in here.” You’re giving some positivity back out in the world while simply unacknowledging the pastry itself.
Realise that the more you have negative thoughts, the more it trains your brain to have negative thoughts. its like if the neural pathway was getting stronger and was on by default. I used to be like this but realised it. Even today I find a lot pf negativity in things for no reason.
This won’t solve everything, but also watch who else you hang around, what kind of media you consume, and where you are getting your social cues from in general. I know so much of my feed was people complaining and criticizing and ‘critiquing’ everything. Follow people who are positive.
And sometimes the pastries are dry. And that’s fine too. You don’t have to like everything, and it is okay to voice your opinion. If you didn’t like any food or any pastry anywhere, it might be an issue. But one dry pastry might just be one dry pastry.
If you catch yourself feeling like you’re the source of toxic negativity, try to make a positive or constructive remark next.
I heard once that before speaking its got to be 2/3 : kind, necessary, true. For example it doesnt have to be necessary if its kind and true. If its not kind, it needs to be necessary and true. If its not necessary keep it to yourself. Obviously easier said than done but i like this rule
Start a gratitude list. Every morning, 5 things you’re grateful for. When you’re being an Eeyore, think of 3 things you’re grateful for in that moment. 1.being out with friends/family 2. Not having to cook 3. Getting to eat at restaurants bc remember lock down? 4. Having the spare money to buy a croissant etc etc. It’s harder to complain when you’re grateful for what you have, those small shifts change your perspective over time.
There’s a lot of good tips here, but one other thing I tried doing/thinking when I was trying to become more positive was appreciate the little things more and equally. For example, if I would be mad and annoyed about hitting a red light, I would try to be equally happy about barely making it through when it’s yellow or something like that. It helped and eventually I was more positive and appreciative in general.
Being raised by English parents, this is also my nature. I find it hard to be on the right side of high standards and being pretentious.
Sometimes negative talk becomes a habit. It’s like a confirmation bias thing? The best way to change how you talk is to practice talking the way you want. So if you want to be more positive you need to go out of your way to find something you like in your surroundings and point that out. For example, at the bakery, maybe the lighting is good or they have a nice display? Maybe someone has a cute outfit on? Find the good thing and point it out. The more you do it the more it’ll become a habit.
You also have to practice rejecting things positively. So for a shit dry pastry instead of being like, “Yuck, this tastes like the Sahara” to your dining companions, you might say, “This wasn’t the flavor I was looking for today, would you like the rest of this?”
It’s hard to break a habit and start a new one so don’t give up if it takes awhile to transition. If you make a mistake and say something negative just quickly follow it with a positive. So using the pasty as an example if you said, “this tastes like ash,” follow that with something like “but I still like the icing on top.”
Best of luck with it. Rooting for you.
That’s sometihng that I work on with clients (as a therapist), and it’s not to moan to anyone who can’t do anything about that moan.
So don’t tell everyone in the office about your dodgy knee for example – unless you work in a GPs office of course.
And remember that moods are contagious, so if you start moaning/complaining all the time, you will lower the mood of those you’re talking to, which doesn’t seem good humaning to me 🙂
How would u look this from the angle of not concealing your feelings or suppressing your thoughts? Suppressing what you feel / containing inner voice can lead to other issues.
> we tried a new bakery. I was told that one of the first things I said at breakfast was that the pastry was very dry and they are better at the bakery we usually go to.
Were you wrong? probably not. Your only other options are keep your mouth shut or lie and act like it’s great. I don’t like these options because next thing you know you’re getting dragged out to places you don’t actually like. As long as your criticism is justified, and you’re not a negative nelly then it’s fine.
Overall I say just put more effort into showing appreciation for the things you do like.
Every time you catch yourself or it is pointed out that you said something negative, find something genuinely positive to say. Even if it’s way after the fact. This won’t instantly solve it, but it helps break up the cycle of negativity and set up good habits.
In Buddhism (Soka Gakkai), I learned “Complaints erase good fortune. Grateful prayer builds happiness for all eternity” from the President Ikeda. I had never thought of it like that; I thought people appreciated (or didn’t mind) when I vented things that bothered me. But I think people really like being around positive people so I had to learn (and am still learning) that if I don’t voice my complaints, they disappear and I can continue to be positive. But it’s a conscious choice and not an automatic thing.
I always call it being realistic, or completely honest. The problem is that people don’t want honesty, they want to feel good about what you say.
So if you have a complaint, say the opposite.
Suggest stop taking yourself so seriously. My first husband was a chronic complainer. Life isn’t fair. One small setback can ruin his entire day. He spends far too much time recounting grievances. Grievances and regrets are mostly pointless. Take your lumps and lessons along with everyone else, then move on unburdened. Whatever it is, is not that important. You’re not that important. Be joyful. You have freedom and privilege. Almost all of our ‘issues’ are champagne / first world problems.
This may sound a little fucked up but look around at people around you and think “it could be worse, I could be them”. For example, you’ve just had a super stressful day, you’re on the train home thinking nothing could be worse than the day you’ve had, you look up and see another haggard looking bloke and have the sudden realisation: “oh right, I could be worse, at least I’m not stressed AND bald”
Negativity often leads to a negative feedback loop too. You’re negative about things because you’ve been negative, you look and pay attention for those things because of the negativity, notice more of it, puts you in a foul mood, and notice more things or feel negative about things that should or could have been positive.
Thinking positive leads to a positive feedback loop too. You’ll notice more positive things, be happier, cause others around you to be happier, and so on.
Good luck, I’ve been struggling here lately too and trying to reverse things. My father is an extremely negative person and several people in my family sadly avoid him as a result including all his children. He’s miserable to be around. It rubbed off on me and as someone who has lived away for 20 years now I still fight it. Don’t turn into that.
Practice more the behavior you want, (less complain) – find more positive points in things.
I’ve been working on this lately. Get into the practice of listing things you’re grateful for in private, particularly when you’re unhappy. Don’t push away your negative feelings, though — acknowledge them, feel them, and then alongside them, bring in the good. That way you don’t bypass them and bury them. Bypassing will not help you rewire your feelings and inclinations at their core, only lead to toxic positivity.
As you do this, do what another commenter said: start noticing your thoughts to raise your awareness. Become conscious of your thinking.
Practice these things and bring them into real time situations. It gets easier, as any skill, and will become intuitive over time.