If you are looking to stay miserable, upset and frustrated with the problem you’re facing, the best thing for you to do is to complain about it.
Complaining is THE #1 way not to solve a problem. In fact, complaining is diametrically opposed to solving a problem. Even worse, complaining has you convinced that you are solving your problem. Complaining is quite the hoodwinker.
Now, it’s important that we have the same definition of complaining. When I say complaining, I’m talking about griping, fussing, speaking negatively, whining, grumping, etc. etc., to another person or to yourself with absolutely NO INTENTION of making any change at all.
If you say, “Awwww, man, it’s raining! I’m so annoyed.” And let’s say you grab your umbrella and cancel your trip to the park. Is that complaining?
No. For 2 reasons. 1 – you took action – changed your plans and took action to not get wet. And you expressed your FEELINGS. Expressing your feelings (I’m so annoyed) is NOT complaining. You get to have your feelings and feelings are just feelings and they are not complaints, no matter how “negative” they are. (And also, feelings are pieces of vital information and inner guidance, so you should probably stop shoving them down, fyi).
If you say, “Guess what, Person A that always listens to me talk about my husband who is mean to me, my husband was mean to me last night.” Person B says, “You need to tell him he shouldn’t talk to you like that” and/or “you deserve better” and/or “that’s not right!” just like she does every time and she just responds with a “yeah, but……” and this exchange pretty much happens 3-5 times a month. Is that complaining?
Yes! Now you’re getting it. You know as well as I do that she’s never going to leave her husband and her husband is never going to stop being mean….until the complaining stops and the changing happens.
A person sits in a therapist’s chair and just goes to town with all sorts of stuff, some of it like the first example, some of it like the second example. Is that complaining?
No! Yay!! If you have your ass in the chair, by definition you are trying to change and doing your personal growth work. You are just putting all of your stuff out there, being vulnerable and letting the professional do her thing.
A person says to her friend, “Hey, can I grump and whine and complain for awhile before I get over myself? Is that complaining?
You’re catching on! Nope. Again, the INTENTION is the difference. We are human. We get to grumble and be pissed and sometimes have a temper tantrum and be unreasonable. We get to process the stuff that happens to us imperfectly. So, yes, you get a pass on complaining as long as it is used as a stepping stone because then YOU have actually hoodwinked complaining! You have turned it into a stepping stone/a problem solving tool/a means of expression and discovery that leads you straight to problem solving.
Finally, don’t beat yourself if you can’t figure out if you are complaining or not. When in doubt, just find your problem. And then solve it.